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New York Court Draws Distinction Between Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence

In New York, the terms medical malpractice and medical negligence are often used interchangeably. While they have similar meanings, there are differences between the two, and they impose distinctive burdens of proof on plaintiffs asserting them as causes of action. The was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a New York court in a case arising out of primary care malpractice. If you suffered harm due to the careless acts of your physician, it is important to understand what evidence you must produce to recover damages, and you should speak to a Syracuse primary care malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Decedent’s Harm

It is reported that the decedent was living in a state-owned facility. He visited the infirmary with complaints of chest pain that radiated down his arm lasting two hours. The nurse at the infirmary attempted to conduct an EKG, but the machine used to perform the test was inoperable. She then contacted the defendant medical center to perform telehealth services for the decedent. The attending physician’s assistant contemplated ordering an EKG but did not because the decedent’s vital signs were normal.

Allegedly, after the telehealth consultation ended, the nurse gave the decedent medication, and he returned to his room. He returned to the infirmary a second time, at which point the EKG machine was working. An EKG revealed he was having a heart attack, and he was transferred to a hospital. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging, among other things, medical negligence. The state moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment, but the court found that there was a genuine factual dispute as to whether the state deviated from the accepted standard of care.

Medical Malpractice Versus Medical Negligence

In its opinion, the court provided an in-depth analysis as to the differences between medical malpractice and medical negligence. The court first noted that, under both theories, a plaintiff must establish that the negligence of the defendant or the defendant’s departure from the standard of care proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm.

Medical malpractice is a species of negligence, and there is no clear line separating the two. The court went on to explain that while it was subtle, there was a distinction between the two causes of action. Specifically, where the underlying harm arises from the failure to follow a medical order or employ standards of ordinary care, then it constitutes negligence, while if it involves a standard established by means of using medical judgment, it is malpractice.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s causes of action sounded in both medical negligence and malpractice. Further, it found that he offered sufficient evidence to demonstrate a material factual dispute as to both claims. Thus, it denied the defendant’s motion.

Meet With a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Primary care physicians are frequently tasked with determining the nature of their patient’s symptoms, and if they fail to take appropriate measures when faced with critical concerns, it may constitute grounds for imposing liability. If you suffered harm due to inadequate care offered by your primary care physician, you might be able to pursue primary care malpractice claims, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The trusted attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at proving careless medical providers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and advise you of what claims you may be able to pursue. You can reach us through our online form or at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.





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