Articles Posted in Failure to Diagnose

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In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant medical provider breached the applicable standard of care. This standard must be determined on a case-by-case basis because not every doctor, nurse, or medical clinic owes a patient the same duty.

For instance, physicians in different specialties may have different duties to diagnose a particular disease in a patient. This means that a general practitioner or “family doctor” might not be expected to recognize a rare disease or illness in every situation.

It should also be noted that, even if it is determined that a particular medical provider did breach a duty of care, the inquiry does not stop there. Additionally, the plaintiff must also be able to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that this breach of care was a proximate cause of the injuries for which the patient or his or her family seeks monetary compensation.

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The medical condition known as a “stroke” occurs when there is poor blood flow to the brain. Suffering a stroke can result in debilitating personal injuries and even death. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for strokes.

If a doctor’s negligence causes a patient to suffer a stroke, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice. A Syracuse medical negligence attorney can help you review the facts of your case if you believe that you or a loved one may have a malpractice claim against a particular doctor or healthcare provider.

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Most Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits revolve around the issue of whether the defendant healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care that applied to the plaintiff’s medical treatment and/or whether any such deviation was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or death. This is not always the only potential claim, however.

In addition, in some cases, the plaintiff may be able to assert what is known as a “lack of informed consent” claim. A plaintiff who asserts such a claim against a defendant medical provider is, in most cases, alleging that he or she was not given sufficient information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a course of treatment to make an informed choice in the matter.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case appealed from the Supreme Court of Richmond County was a woman, joined by her husband (asserting a derivative claim), who sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against the defendants (a gynecologist and the medical practice that employed him). According to the plaintiffs, the defendants had failed to obtain informed consent for a sterilization procedure undergone by the woman and/or had departed from the accepted standard of care for the procedure. The plaintiffs further asserted that, as a result of the defendants’ negligence, the woman had suffered serious personal injuries and had required extensive medical treatment, including a quadruple bypass surgery.

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In some Syracuse medical malpractice cases, there is but a single defendant. This could be a family doctor who ignored a patient’s symptoms of a life-threatening emergency medical condition, resulting in the patient’s death, or it could be a surgeon who negligently left medical instruments inside a patient’s body, resulting in serious bodily injury.

In most cases, however, there are multiple defendants. Sometimes these defendants are connected, such as an emergency room doctor and the hospital at which he or she provided care.

There are also cases in which the various defendants’ were not connected, except in the sense that they each provided care to the same patient. These factors can complicate matters such as the statute of limitations and whether the continuous treatment doctrine has been established if the complaint was filed beyond the ordinary deadline and an exception is sought.

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The Legislature of the State of New York has codified the limitations period for a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. This means that, generally speaking, someone who is hurt by the mistake of a doctor or other healthcare professional must file a claim within that time period, or else his or her right to seek money damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the doctor’s mistake is forfeited.

However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to the general limitations period. Some exceptions, such as the continuous treatment doctrine, can potentially extend the period for filing suit. Likewise, there may be certain circumstances that result in a shorter effective limitations period. If you believe that you  have a claim for medical negligence, it is important to talk to an attorney as soon as possible so that appropriate measures can be taken to preserve your claim.

(Notably, the statute of limitations may be different if you were treated in another state. In some states, the period for filing a claim can be substantially shorter (or potentially longer), so it is important to get legal advice that is state-specific.)

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A delayed cancer diagnosis can be very costly to a patient. Lost time can greatly impact a patient’s treatment options and ultimate chance of recovery.

When this happens, the patient or his or her family may have the option of filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician whose negligence caused the delay. In some instances, multiple medical providers may be held accountable for the patient’s damages.

In oncology malpractice cases, as in other types of medical malpractice lawsuits, it is the plaintiff who has the burden of proof at trial. This requires expert testimony in most cases, usually from a doctor in the same specialty (or, sometimes, in a similar field) as the allegedly negligent medical provider.

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Motions for summary judgment are common in Syracuse medical malpractice cases. Summary judgment is a pre-trial procedure in which one party or the other (but usually the defendant) asks the court to award judgment to that party on the basis that there are no genuine issues of material fact on one or more claims.

If a court grants summary judgment, it is in effect saying that, even if any questionable evidence is construed in the light favoring the party opposing the motion, there really isn’t anything to fight about. In other words, a jury trial is not necessary because there are not any material facts that must be resolved.

When summary judgment is granted, the losing party has the right to seek appellate review of the lower’s court’s decision. When summary judgment is denied, sometimes there is an immediate appeal but, in some situations, the issue is addressed during the post-trial phase of the case.

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We depend heavily upon the expertise of doctors and hospital personnel to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions, illnesses, and injuries. Most of the time, they do, and we are grateful for their help.

Sometimes, however, mistakes are made, and the patient suffers great physical harm, pain, and suffering as a result. Most hospitals and physicians carry medical malpractice insurance that covers them in such situations, if the injured person is able to make out a claim for medical malpractice.

However, proving negligence against a medical provider is not always easy. Medical experts must be retained, records must be reviewed, and various court proceedings are likely to ensue if the case is not settled early.

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A Syracuse hospital malpractice case may be based on one or several alleged breaches of the duty of care towards a patient. Failing to properly diagnose and treat an infection is one possible issue that could arise in such a case.

In order to prove negligence against a medical provider, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to establish, by expert proof, the duty of care that was applicable to the patient at the time in question. The plaintiff must also show that this duty was breached and that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries for which he or she seeks monetary compensation in the lawsuit at hand.

If the plaintiff is unable to produce competent and convincing medical expert testimony to support his or her theory of negligence, his or her case is likely to get dismissed on the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. In such a situation, the plaintiff’s case will not reach the jury, and he or she will receive $0 in compensation.

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Negligence cases, including Syracuse medical malpractice claims, often come down to one or two basic issues. Did the defendant breach a standard of care owed to the plaintiff? Was this the proximate cause of the harm that he or she complains about in the lawsuit?

Proving fault in professional negligence cases usually involves the testimony of one or more expert witnesses. One or both parties may seek an early resolution of the case through a pre-trial procedure known as “summary judgment,” but this is only appropriate when there are no genuine issues of material fact.

When factual issues must be resolved, the case should go to the jury, rather than be resolved by the judge without the plaintiff having his or her day in court. This is also true when the parties’ respective expert witnesses starkly disagree about the duty that was owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, whether this duty was breached, and/or whether such breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages.

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