Articles Posted in Failure to Diagnose

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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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Healthcare professionals make mistakes just like the rest of us do. Sometimes, these errors are harmless, and other times they result in great physical harm and, tragically, even death.

When a medical provider’s mistake causes personal injury or death, the patient or his or her family has the right to pursue a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. If there is a preponderance of evidence in the plaintiff’s favor, he or she can recover a judgment for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and other damages.

One of the most important steps in a professional negligence case is the retention of an expert witness. Without a well-qualified expert who is willing to review the plaintiff’s case and render an opinion as to whether the defendant breached the standard of care, the plaintiff will not be able to succeed at trial.

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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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Timeliness is of the essence in a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. If a claim is not filed within the time allowed by law, it will eventually be dismissed by the courts, regardless of its merits.

Because of this, it is critically important that anyone who believes that they or a family member may have been hurt by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, or other medical provider seek timely legal advice about his or her case. An attorney experienced in these types of cases can provide the would-be plaintiff with important information about filing deadlines and other requirements.

An experienced malpractice attorney can also guide the plaintiff through the investigative phase of his or her case, helping secure medical records and consulting with potential expert witnesses who can testify on the plaintiff’s behalf at trial.

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Perhaps the most important thing that a patient should know about a Syracuse medical malpractice case is that, if something goes wrong and he or she feels the need to sue a medical provider for negligence, it is the patient who bears the burden of proof. This is true even though the doctor was the professional, and the patient was the layperson.

In order to prove his or her case, the plaintiff will need to obtain his or her medical records, have another medical professional review them, and have that expert witness testify at trial as to the mistakes that were made and how they affected the plaintiff. This is a difficult task and one that almost always requires the help of legal counsel.

An attorney who regularly practices in this area of the law can guide the injured person through an investigation of his or her claim, help the patient secure the necessary records, and work with potential expert witnesses to build the plaintiff’s case. This can be a protracted process, so it is important that a person who has been hurt by an act of medical negligence seek counsel right away.

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A Syracuse medical malpractice case begins with the plaintiff filing a lawsuit against the allegedly negligent doctor, hospital, or another medical provider. The defendant(s) then files an answer, addressing each of the allegations made by the plaintiff in his or her suit.

From there, the case typically proceeds to the discovery phase of litigation, a time during which each party has an opportunity to send written interrogatories and requests to produce documents to the other. These are usually followed up by depositions of the parties and their respective medical expert witnesses. If the parties cannot agree on the handling of the discovery phase of the litigation, it is likely that one or both parties will seek the court’s help, sometimes by a motion to compel.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were a husband and wife who sued several defendants, including a hospital, a medical doctor, and a radiology group, asserting a claim for medical malpractice due to the defendants’ alleged negligence in the treatment of the male plaintiff and seeking monetary compensation for the plaintiffs’ damages resulting from the defendants’ conduct. During the pre-trial phase of the case, a dispute arose between the parties with regard to whether the defendant doctor should be compelled to attend a further deposition and answer certain questions regarding certain subsequent medical treatment of the male plaintiff.

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A doctor or healthcare provider’s failure to diagnose and/or properly treat a pulmonary embolism can result in a Syracuse surgical malpractice claim. Potentially life-threatening, a pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot (usually from another part of the body) blocks one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs.

A pulmonary embolism can result in shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough; less common symptoms include irregular heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, swelling, and fever. If not promptly diagnosed or properly treated, a pulmonary embolism can cause serious injury or even death in some patients. Because surgery is one of the main causes of blood clots that result in pulmonary embolism, it is especially important that surgeons take measures to prevent, recognize, and/or treat such conditions in their patients.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recently decided case arising in the Supreme Court of New York County was the administratrix of a 49-year-old woman who died from a pulmonary embolism that was allegedly caused by bilateral deep vein thromboses in her legs. According to the plaintiff’s complaint against the defendants (a family medicine physician, a cardiologist, and others), the decedent’s condition developed after she underwent a two-day back surgery. Both the family medicine physician and the cardiologist consulted on the decedent’s care. They also allegedly reviewed certain electrocardiograms that showed T wave inversions. In the plaintiff’s view, the defendants deviated from good and accepted standards of medicine by failing to order additional testing in order to determine the cause of the decedent’s T wave inversion.

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Like other types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, claims for medical malpractice must be filed within a certain period of time (called the “statute of limitations”), or else the claimant forfeits his or her right to pursue fair compensation. While there a few exceptions to this general rule, these exceptions apply only to very limited situations. In all other circumstances, a would-be plaintiff’s claim will be dismissed as time-barred if not filed within the limitations period. Hence, it is very important to talk to Syracuse medical malpractice attorney sooner, rather than later, if you or a loved one has been the victim of medical negligence.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a malpractice lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Orange County was a woman who had a mammogram at the defendant medical facility in April 2015. The defendant radiologist reviewed the plaintiff’s mammogram and prepared a report recommending that the plaintiff have a biopsy, but, apparently due to some miscommunication or a lack of communication, the plaintiff did not actually undergo a biopsy until November 2015. The biopsy indicated the presence of cancer.

The plaintiff’s suit sought monetary compensation for lack of informed consent and medical malpractice; more particularly, the plaintiff asserted that the defendants had been negligent in failing to diagnose her with breast cancer and in failing to give her timely notification of the results of the radiologist’s report recommending a biopsy. The defendants’ filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by the trial court. The plaintiff filed an appeal, seeking review from the appellate tribunal.

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A Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit can arise in many different ways. Sometimes, a claim of negligence involves an affirmative act taken by a doctor, such as operating on the wrong limb or leaving behind a piece of medical equipment in a patient’s abdominal cavity. Medical malpractice can also happen when a doctor fails to take a particular action, such as failing to refer a patient to a specialist for further examination and treatment.

Of course, simply failing to make a referral is not, in and of itself, negligence unless some harm befalls the patient as a proximate result. A common complaint in such situations is that the doctor’s failure to advise the patient to follow up with another physician resulted in a delayed diagnosis some type, such as cancer, and that the condition grew worse as a result.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided case arising in the Supreme Court for Bronx County, the plaintiff was a man who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor and others, asserting that the doctor had been negligent in not referring him to a urologist in a timely fashion. According to the plaintiff’s view of the case, this negligence created a delay, during which the plaintiff’s prostate cancer became worse, ultimately requiring him to undergo a radical prostatectomy.

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A Syracuse medical malpractice case may involve allegations against multiple defendants – a hospital, one or more doctors, and possibly other healthcare providers, as well. Generally speaking, the more defendants there are in a case, the more expensive and time-consuming the litigation is likely to be. For this reason, a plaintiff may opt to dismiss his or her claims against one or more defendants and proceed against those remaining.

In some cases, the defendants themselves may oppose such a measure and may file a cross claim aimed at keeping a co-defendant actively engaged in the lawsuit so as to have the option of shifting – or at least sharing – liability and blame if the case proceeds to trial.

Facts of the Case

A recent appellate case originating in the Supreme Court of Westchester County, the plaintiffs sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against a doctor and medical center following the death of their decedent from a stroke. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the doctor (who was an emergency room attending physician at the medical center) negligently failed to recognize the symptoms of a stroke, thereby contributing to the decedent’s death. Four years after filing their suit, the plaintiffs signed a stipulation to discontinue their cause of action against the defendant doctor. However, the medical center did not agree to the stipulation and sought to amend its answer to add a cross claim against the doctor for indemnification and contribution. The doctor, in turn, amended his answer to assert similar cross claims against the medical center.

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