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New York Court Discusses When a Delayed Diagnosis Constitutes Medical Malpractice  

In some instances in which a patient suffers from multiple symptoms that do not have a clear cause, a doctor will be unable to provide the patient with a prompt diagnosis. While some degree of delay in diagnosing a patient may be reasonable, a substantial delay without just cause may constitute medical malpractice. Recently, a New York appellate court explained when a delay constitutes medical malpractice in a case in which a patient alleged she suffered harm due to a physician’s delay in diagnosing the patient with endocarditis. If you suffered damages due to your doctor’s failure to diagnose you in a timely manner, it is wise to speak to a trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts Concerning the Plaintiff’s Care

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant urgent care center with numerous complaints. The defendant ultimately diagnosed the plaintiff with endocarditis, multiple days after the plaintiff first visited the defendant urgent care center. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant urgent care center and the defendant doctor who treated her at the center, alleging that the delay in diagnosing the plaintiff caused her to suffer permanent heart valve damage. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court denied the defendants’ motion, after which the defendants appealed. Upon review, the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

When a Delayed Diagnosis Constitutes Medical Malpractice  

The appellate court noted that the defendants made a prima facie showing that they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Specifically, the defendants met their burden of proof under New York law by producing a detailed expert affidavit that stated that the defendant’s delay in diagnosing the plaintiff did not constitute a departure from accepted and good medical practice in treating the plaintiff. The appellate court found, however, that the plaintiff did not meet her burden of proof. Specifically, the expert reports provided by the plaintiff neither demonstrated that the defendants deviated from the standard of care or that any purported deviation caused the plaintiff’s alleged harm.

Instead, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit failed to address the assertions in the defendant’s expert affidavit that the defendant doctor considered many different causes of the plaintiff’s symptoms, and conducted numerous diagnostic tests, which ultimately led to the plaintiff’s diagnosis of endocarditis. Further, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit failed to account for the fact that a significant portion of the delay in obtaining a diagnosis was caused by the plaintiff’s failure to undergo testing. Lastly, the plaintiff’s expert declined to address the defendant’s assertion that the plaintiff’s heart valve damage was not caused by her endocarditis. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

Discuss Your Harm with a Knowledgeable Syracuse Attorney

If you suffered damages due to your doctor’s delay in providing you with an accurate diagnosis, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney adept at handling failure to diagnose potential claims. The seasoned attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have ample experience handling medical malpractice lawsuits arising out of numerous types of harm, and we will work diligently to help you seek a just outcome. You can contact us at 315-479-9000 or through the form online to set up a conference.

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