In most Syracuse medical malpractice cases, one or more healthcare provider defendants will file what is known as a “motion for summary judgment.” This procedural device may sound harmless enough, but it is often deadly to the plaintiff’s pursuit of fair compensation for an act of medical negligence.
Summary judgment can effectively end a plaintiff’s case as to certain defendants, certain claims, or in its entirety. When a trial court grants such a motion, the court is basically telling the plaintiff that, even if everything he or she says is true, there is no genuine issue of material fact in his or her case and the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fortunately, there is an appellate process for reviewing a trial court’s granting of summary judgment. Many such appeals are successful, giving the plaintiff’s a second chance to have his or her case proceed to a trial on the merits.
Facts of the Case
In a case arising in the Supreme Court of Erie County, the plaintiff was the administratrix of the estate of a man who died from acute respiratory failure following a hypoxic brain injury that occurred as a result of an emergency tracheostomy that was performed when the man returned to the defendant medical center after he had been dismissed earlier in the day when the defendant anesthesiologist and a nurse (who was employed by the medical center) failed in their attempts to intubate the man in preparation for surgery on his shoulder.