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New York Court Explains Grounds for Re-Instituting Medical Malpractice Claims

Doctors accused of medical malpractice will rarely admit fault. In fact, in many cases, they will move to dismiss the claims against them in their entirety. A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case can defeat such motions by demonstrating via expert evidence that a factual dispute exists as to whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm. Courts do not always assess such evidence properly, however, and may unjustly dismiss a plaintiff’s claim regardless of the evidentiary support. As demonstrated in a recent New York case, though, such decisions may be reversible. If you were hurt by inadequate medical care, it is advisable to talk to a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Factual and Procedural Setting of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, a child suffering from cerebral palsy, underwent surgery on both legs, including hamstring lengthening. The procedure was performed by the defendants, two orthopedic surgeons. Following the surgery, the plaintiff experienced postoperative complications, including bilateral weakness and sensory loss in the lower extremities. Subsequent examinations revealed a nerve stretch injury that caused the plaintiff to have significant difficulties walking. As such, the plaintiff initiated a medical malpractice action against the defendants, alleging negligence in performing the surgery and failing to timely diagnose the nerve stretch injury.

Allegedly, the defendants moved for summary judgment to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. In support of their motion, the defendants offered an expert affidavit and medical records. The plaintiff opposed the motion, presenting a redacted affidavit from another expert physician. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion. The plaintiff then appealed.

Grounds for Reversing a Dismissal of Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court reviewed the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, considering whether they established the absence of any departure from accepted medical practice or that the plaintiff was not injured thereby. In doing so, the court found that the defendants successfully demonstrated, through their expert affidavit and medical records, that the nerve stretch injury suffered by the plaintiff was a known risk of the surgery and not caused by negligence. Additionally, they showed that any alleged delay in diagnosing the injury did not depart from the standard of care and was not a proximate cause of the claimed injuries.

In response, however, the plaintiff raised triable issues of fact in opposition to the motion, particularly regarding whether the nerve stretch injury resulted from the defendants’ negligence during surgery and whether the delayed diagnosis affected the outcome negatively. Consequently, the court determined that the defendants failed to meet their prima facie burden for summary judgment. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment, denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, and modified the order accordingly, allowing the cause of action alleging medical malpractice to proceed to trial.

Meet with an Assertive Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Doctors have an obligation to provide their patients with competent care, and if they fail to do so, they may be liable for medical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to a physician’s recklessness, you should meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our assertive Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your harm and help you take the measures necessary to protect your interests. You can reach us at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to arrange a meeting.

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