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New York Court Grants Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendants in Surgical Malpractice Case

In many instances, when a patient suffers complications following a surgery it is because the surgery was improperly performed. In such cases, the surgeon could be held liable for medical malpractice. If a person who develops an issue after a procedure wishes to pursue claims against the doctor that performed the procedure, though, the individual must obtain testimony from a competent expert to establish that the adverse health effects arose out of medical incompetence, otherwise they may be denied the right to recover damages. This was demonstrated in a ruling recently issued by a New York court, in a case in which the defendant argued the plaintiff’s harm was not caused by medical negligence and the court agreed. If you sustained losses because of an inappropriately performed surgery, it is smart to speak to a Syracuse surgical malpractice attorney to determine what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a right knee replacement in February 2012, that was performed by the defendant orthopedic surgeon. His wound healed slowly, and he later underwent a second surgery which was performed by the defendant orthopedic surgeon to maintain the hardware that had been placed during the first procedure. The defendant plastic surgeon also performed a procedure at that time.

It was reported that the plaintiff then developed pain and range of motion issues and underwent a total knee replacement two years later. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, arguing their negligence led to complications that required the knee replacement. The defendants filed motions asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. The court denied the motions and the defendants appealed.

Establishing a Deviation from the Standard of Care

The court explained that under New York law, a physician seeking summary judgment must establish, prima facie, that there was either no departure from the applicable standard of care or that any departure was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. If a defendant is able to establish this, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to rebut the defendant’s showing via materials or facts.

If a moving defendant addresses both the elements of a deviation from the standard of care and proximate cause, the plaintiff must raise a triable issue of fact as to each element in order to avoid dismissal. In the subject case, the court found that the defendant met its burden via expert affirmations, but the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a triable issue of fact with her response. Thus, the trial court ruling was reversed, and the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed.

Meet with an Experienced Syracuse Attorney

When issues arise after a surgery, it is often because of incompetent care, and people that suffer unnecessary complications can often recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you or a loved one were harmed by surgical malpractice, you should meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to assess whether you have a viable claim for damages. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our capable medical malpractice attorneys are adept at gathering the evidence needed to prove negligent doctors should be held accountable, and if you hire us, we will diligently pursue the best outcome possible in your case. You can reach us through our online form or at 315-479-9000 to schedule a meeting.

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