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Recent New York Medical Malpractice Case Highlights Risks of Proceeding Without an Attorney

While in some legal matters, a person may be tempted to proceed without a lawyer, medical malpractice cases are complex and involve a juxtaposition of medical and legal issues. Thus, it generally is in the best interest of a person seeking to recover damages in a medical malpractice case to be represented by an attorney. This was demonstrated in a recent medical malpractice case arising out of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, in which the plaintiff proceeded pro se, and many of his claims were dismissed. If you sustained injuries due to a negligent care provider, it is wise to engage an experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of damages.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff treated with the defendant physicians at the defendant mental health center. During a treatment appointment, he requested that a student physician leave the room, and the doctor refused. The plaintiff attempted to file a grievance against the doctor but was asked to return on a later date. When he returned, he was questioned by the first doctor who was named as a defendant as to whether he had ever been admitted as an inpatient. Later that day, the plaintiff was picked up by the police and involuntarily committed to the defendant mental health center with diagnoses of delusional disorder and schizophrenia.

Allegedly, on the day after the plaintiff was admitted, the second doctor who was named as a defendant mocked him and told him he would be admitted for weeks. The plaintiff produced multiple forms of identification and proof that he was not delusional, but was not released for a week. Following his release, he filed a lawsuit asserting numerous claims against the defendants, including medical malpractice claims arising out of fraud and negligence. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

Negligence and Fraud as a Basis for Medical Malpractice Claims

The court noted that in New York, medical malpractice claims essentially assert professional negligence. Thus, a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice must prove that the defendant medical provider deviated from accepted practice, and the deviation caused the harm alleged. In the subject case, the court found that the allegations in the plaintiff’s complaint, if proven, were sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged the defendant doctors departed from the standard of care by treating him for conditions for which he was not diagnosed and disregarding proof of his sanity.

Regarding the fraud claim which the defendant asserted under the heading of malpractice, the court stated where both fraud and medical malpractice claims arise out of the same events, the plaintiff’s right to assert both claims is limited. Specifically, the plaintiff must show the defendant had knowledge of his or her malpractice and intentionally made misrepresentations to the plaintiff, that the plaintiff relied upon. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to distinguish how the fraud claim differed from his medical malpractice claims. Thus, the court dismissed his fraud claims.

Speak with a Seasoned Malpractice Attorney

If you sustained damages because of incompetent medical care, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to pursue.  The diligent attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at assisting parties in medical malpractice lawsuits and will work tirelessly to help you seek a favorable outcome. You can contact us through the online form or at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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