Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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When it comes to personal injury and wrongful death litigation, time is of the essence. If a New York medical malpractice lawsuit is not filed on within the statute of limitations, it has very little chance of ever being considered upon its merits.

There may be other deadlines that require strict compliance, as well. Taking too long to seek legal redress can result in a summary dismissal of a case that might otherwise have been very winnable – and worth a substantial sum of money to a malpractice victim and his or her family – had it been timely filed.

For this reason, it is extremely important that anyone who believes he or she has been suffered harm due to medical negligence seek legal advice as soon as possible.

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When it comes to issues in a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant’s deviation from the applicable standard of care was the proximate cause of his or her damages.

In many medical negligence lawsuits, one or more of the defendants may seek judgment as a matter of law via a summary judgment motion. When this happens, the burden then shifts to the defendant to demonstrate that there are no genuine issues of material fact.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who was involved in an accident in which a log fell on his hand in 2009. He was treated by the defendant doctors (employees of the defendant medical group) at the defendant hospital and released the following day. A few days later, he was seen for a checkup, in which he was checked by a physician’s assistant. About a week later, he returned to the doctor’s office and was told that his index finger “had died.” He underwent an amputation of his finger thereafter.

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Filing a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit is a complex endeavor that requires strict compliance to a great many procedural rules. While there may be limited instances in which compliance with a particular requirement may be excused under the circumstances of a given case, this is by far the exception rather than the rule. The burden is usually on the plaintiff not only to prove his or her case but also to convince the court that an exception should be made if a deadline was missed or another procedural rule was not complied with.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the administratrix of the estate of a woman who allegedly died due to the negligence of the defendant hospital. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, and the trial court entered an order setting forth the discovery obligations of the parties. Although a particular doctor’s deposition was supposed to have taken place by a certain date, this apparently did not happen. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules 3126(3). The Supreme Court for New York County entered an order granting the defendant’s motion and dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint. The plaintiff sought review from the intermediate appellate court of New York.

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Medical malpractice is rampant in New York and elsewhere in the country. However, unless an injured person (or the estate of a deceased patient) files a timely complaint for medical negligence and is able to offer proof from a competent medical expert witness regarding the standard of care and the defendant doctor or hospital’s deviation therefrom, the injured person or his or her family will not be able to recover monetary compensation.

Thus, it is very important to talk to a knowledgeable New York medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible if you suspect that you or a loved one has been the victim of negligence by a medical professional.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the administrator of a woman who developed a severe sacral decubitus ulcer (i.e., a pressure ulcer or “bedsore”) while under the care of the defendant hospital. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the development of the ulcer was due to the defendant’s negligence. The defendant, however, claimed that the decedent’s ulcer was unavoidable under the circumstances and filed a motion seeking summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim against it.

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It is not unusual for a New York medical malpractice lawsuit to evolve into multi-faceted litigation involving several defendants and multiple theories of liability. For instance, a medical negligence lawsuit against a doctor or hospital could, under certain circumstances, grow to include a possible product liability lawsuit against the maker of an allegedly defective medical device.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently ruled upon by the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, the plaintiffs were a former medical patient and the patient’s husband. According to their complaint, filed in the Supreme Court of Niagara County, the patient was admitted to the defendant medical center for surgery in 2008. After her surgery, the patient was given a patient-controlled analgesia infusion pump that allowed her to self-administer pain medication with the push of a button. The pump was supposed to have a “maximum dosage” feature, but, after using the pump without incident for several hours, the patient suffered an adverse medical event that necessitated her receiving an emergency opioid-reversing medication and being transferred to intensive care for additional treatment.

The plaintiffs filed suit in 2011, seeking compensation for the alleged negligence and medical malpractice of the defendant medical center and others. In an amended complaint, the plaintiffs sought monetary damages from the manufacturer of the pump, but that litigation stagnated because the medical center could not identify which of the 12 pumps it possessed was the pump that allegedly harmed the plaintiff. Eventually, the trial court dismissed the complaint as to the manufacturers, but the appellate court reversed that decision. On remand, the plaintiffs moved for sanctions against the medical center for spoliation of the pump. The trial court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for an adverse inference charge at trial as a sanction for its spoliation of evidence. The medical center appealed.

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Opioid addiction can have deadly consequences for a patient. If you or a loved one has been hurt or someone you love has passed away due to an opioid overdose, you may have legal rights. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers can examine your case and help you understand your rights.

There has been a lot of speculation around singer Prince’s death. Based on a criminal investigation, it is believed that Prince died as a result of overdosing on what he believed were prescription opioids such as Vicodin, but were actually the black market version of these drugs, containing the much more powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. Investigators could not figure out where Prince may have gotten these counterfeit drugs and, as a result, did not charge anyone in the death.

Prince’s family, however, recently filed a malpractice lawsuit against a hospital in Illinois that treated Prince’s first opioid overdose a week before his death. The lawsuit states that Prince’s death was a “direct and proximate cause” of the hospital failing to appropriately diagnose and treat the overdose. The lawsuit also claims that the hospital failed to investigate the cause of the overdose and provide proper counseling. In addition, the family is suing Walgreens, alleging that the pharmacy dispensed narcotic prescription medications to the pop star.

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Medical professionals at hospitals are expected to provide competent care to each patient. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. If you or someone close to you was injured due to hospital negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our seasoned Syracuse hospital negligence attorneys can thoroughly examine the facts of your case and determine the viability of your claim. For many years, we have helped New York clients resolve their medical malpractice claims, and we can help you as well.

Hospital negligence is much more common than you may think. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine reported that up to 98,000 people a year die because of mistakes in hospitals. In 2010, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services found that inadequate hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 patients in Medicare alone in a given year. A study by the Journal of Patient Safety estimated that in 2014, between 210,000 and 440,000 patients who went to the hospital for care suffered some type of preventable harm that contributed to their death.

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals at a hospital play a critical role in a patient’s treatment and recovery. Any medical professional working at a hospital may be responsible for a hospital error. Some examples of these errors include but are not limited to:

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Medical malpractice lawsuits require that hospitals, medical professionals, and other named defendants disclose their medical records so that a plaintiff can make a case for negligence. This most frequently occurs during the pre-trial stages of litigation. Although courts prefer that litigants navigate this process without judicial intervention, sometimes litigation disputes emerge as to what should be disclosed to the plaintiff. This is happening in a medical negligence case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, in which the court compelled the hospital to disclose emails related to an experimental surgery performed on the plaintiff. While this case does not affect New York hospital malpractice cases, it illustrates some of the practical issues that may arise.

The plaintiff alleged in the original lawsuit that a hospital surgeon performed an experimental bariatric surgery on a mentally disabled patient without his consent. The complaint alleged that the defendant surgeon performed bariatric surgery on the plaintiff in 2009, causing the plaintiff to begin experiencing respiratory issues. He began experiencing other complications and underwent a subsequent surgery to reverse the bariatric surgery procedure. During this reversal surgery, the surgeons allegedly discovered that the defendant surgeon had not properly performed a bariatric procedure. The complaint that was actually performed was an experimental one, which was conducted, according to the complaint, without the patient’s consent. The plaintiff’s claims survived a pre-trial motion for dismissal earlier in the month. However, after this ruling, the judge was asked to rule on the admissibility of several emails into evidence.

The emails in question were between hospital personnel. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and admitted the emails into evidence because they were not, as the defendant claimed, protected by the work-product doctrine or attorney-client privilege. Another string of emails, however, was ruled to be protected and inadmissible.

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During a stay in the hospital after the birth of an infant in New York, mothers are often encouraged to rest as much as possible and allow nurses and doctors to help them recuperate from labor. The setting should provide a safe environment for the baby’s first few days of life. Careful monitoring and support from hospital staff and medication to assist with recovery are often critical for new parents.

An infant in Oregon was recently removed from life support 10 days after he was born, and his mother has filed a negligence suit against the hospital where she gave birth. She is claiming that a nurse should not have left her newborn in the bed with her when she was too heavily medicated to remain alert. Her baby suffocated in her arms while she slept.

The infant was resuscitated, stabilized and taken to a neonatal intensive care unit, where he was placed on life support. According to the lawsuit, in addition to the trauma of his time without oxygen, the baby sustained broken ribs during the CPR performed by a doctor. The mother alleges that the delay in response from the staff at the hospital contributed to the catastrophic brain damage her son suffered. She is also suing one of the nurses at the hospital where she gave birth.

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Many people experience medical malpractice each year, in a number of forms. In 2012, there were $3.6 billion dollars in payout for medical malpractice suits. You or a loved one may have recently been at a hospital and found that your stay wasn?t as peachy as you hoped, leading to questions: What is hospital negligence? What is the hospital liable for? Can I sue? Should I sue?

 

Cases in which the patient is injured are known as “Vicarious Liability.” Hospitals are public and private corporations and can always be held to the same standard as other entities in that classification. You may have heard horror stories of some types of hospital negligence. Situations such as a tool being left in the body after surgery, a slip and fall on the premises (yes, the hospital is liable!), not having a nurse available to take care of you – all of these are considered hospital negligence.

Let?s run through an example of vicarious liability. You go in for an emergency appendectomy, get checked in, and taken in for surgery. You wake up, and there is no nurse on call. Weeks later, after going through an airport metal detector, you discover a small surgical instrument was left in your stomach. Not only is the hospital vicariously liable for the surgical instrument, but if you are able to prove that there was no nurse available, they are additionally liable for that.

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