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Sufficiency of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York Discussed

While it is uncommon, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer. Regardless of whether a person diagnosed with breast cancer is male or female, it is a serious disease that requires aggressive treatment. As such, it is critical to obtain an accurate diagnosis as promptly as possible. Thus, a doctor that fails to diagnose a male patient with breast cancer in a timely manner may be sued for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the standards imposed on expert affidavits in support of and in opposition to a motion for summary judgment in a case in which the plaintiff sued his primary care physician for failing to diagnose his breast cancer. If you sustained an injury or suffered the worsening of illness due to your doctor’s failure to provide you with the correct diagnosis, it is prudent to speak to a dedicated Syracuse primary care malpractice lawyer to assess your case.

Factual History

It is alleged that the plaintiff was a patient of the defendant primary care physician and regularly treated with her at the defendant practice. The plaintiff, who is male, regularly complained of breast pain and other breast-related symptoms. The defendant did not order diagnostic imaging or any other tests,  however. Ultimately, the plaintiff was diagnosed with breast cancer. He then filed a medical malpractice case against the defendants due to their failure to diagnose him when his symptoms first presented. Following discovery, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the plaintiff opposed. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendants appealed. Following a review, the appellate court affirmed the denial.

Sufficiency of Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

In seeking a dismissal of a plaintiff’s case via summary judgment, a defendant bears the burden of proving, prima facie, that she or he did not depart from the standard of care or that if a departure did occur, it did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm. In the subject case, the court found that the defendants’ expert affidavit only addressed the issue of whether the defendants deviated from the applicable standard. In other words, it only briefly mentioned causation in a conclusory manner.

As such, because the defendants did not meet their burden with regards to causation, the plaintiff was not required to address causation in his opposition to the motion. Further, while the court found that the defendant met its burden of proof with regard to the element of departure, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit set forth sufficient evidence to show that a factual dispute that must be resolved via trial existed, as required to defeat the defendant’s motion. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Meet with a Capable Syracuse Attorney

Patients rely on doctors to provide accurate and timely diagnoses, and when they do not, it can lead to significant losses. If you were harmed by your physician’s failure to identify your illness, the capable Syracuse primary care malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and gather the evidence and facts needed to help you set forth strong arguments in favor of your recovery of compensation. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 315-479-9000 to set up a conference.

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