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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice News

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People suffering from critical medical issues are often transported to the hospital by emergency medical technicians (EMTs) via an ambulance. EMTs are expected to employ reasonable care when transporting patients, and if they do not, it can result in injuries. In some cases, though, a person injured by the negligence of an EMT will be precluded from recovering damages due to New York’s laws regarding government-function immunity, as discussed in a recent New York opinion. If you were injured by an EMT, you might be able to pursue claims for damages, and it is smart to contact a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was being transported to the hospital by EMTs employed by the defendant city. During the trip, he unbuckled his restraints and jumped out of the ambulance. He subsequently suffered injuries. He proceeded to file claims against the defendant, alleging the negligence of the EMTs caused him harm. In response, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability pursuant to the doctrine of governmental function immunity. After reviewing the motion, the court adopted the defendant’s reasoning and ruled in its favor, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed.

EMT Liability for Injuries Sustained During Transportation to the Hospital

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling on appeal. In doing so, it explained that pursuant to the doctrine of governmental function immunity, government actions that are discretionary in nature cannot form the basis of liability. Ministerial actions, on the other hand, may be grounds for imposing liability, but only if they violate a duty owed specifically to the plaintiff that is separate from any duty owed to the public generally. Continue reading

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Unfortunately, mistakes made during relatively low-risk medical procedures can cause devastating harm. Even in cases in which liability seems clear, however, defendants in medical malpractice cases will often deny that they caused the plaintiff to suffer harm and will seek dismissal via a motion for summary judgment. While the courts typically rule reasonably with regard to such motions, they are not invulnerable to mistakes. While parties cannot relitigate issues, they may be able to reargue them when it is clear the court committed an error, as demonstrated in a recent anesthesia malpractice case.  If you were hurt by negligently administered anesthesia, it is advisable to consult a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney about your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent surgery to repair a fractured ankle. During the procedure, his oxygen level dropped rapidly. The defendant anesthesiologist then administered an excessive dose of anesthesia which caused the plaintiff to go into an extended respiratory depression, causing him to suffer brain damage. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that his negligence harmed the plaintiff. The defendant moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims by summary judgment.

It is reported that the trial court granted the motion as to the plaintiff’s claims that arose out of the improper administration of anesthesia on the grounds that the plaintiff failed to raise the issue. The plaintiff moved to reargue the issue and clarify what matters would proceed to trial. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion to reargue the issue, noting that it had inadvertently failed to recognize the fact that the plaintiff amended the bill of particulars to include claims regarding the negligent administration of anesthesia. As such, the court denied the defendant’s motion as it related to the claims arising out of the negligent administration of anesthesia. The defendant then appealed. Continue reading

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Those who have suffered personal injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death have only a limited time in which to file a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit. This includes situations in which the victim of the alleged medical negligence is a minor child. If your family has been hurt by a doctor or hospital, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you get started on your case, but you must take the first step by setting up a consultation.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appeals court case, the plaintiffs were the parents of a minor child who allegedly suffered injuries during her birth at a city hospital owned and operated by the defendant. The plaintiffs sought to file suit in the Supreme Court, Bronx County, to seek for the child’s injuries via a motion for leave to file a late notice of claim. The defendant resisted the plaintiffs’ motion, urging the trial court to deny the relief sought by the plaintiffs. The trial granted the motion for leave, and the defendant appealed.

The Appeals Court’s Decision

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division for First Department affirmed the lower court’s ruling. According to the appellate court, the lower tribunal’s decision to grant the plaintiffs leave to file a late notice of claim within the discretion of the trial court. Although the defendant pointed out that the plaintiffs have failed to set forth a “reasonable excuse” for their delay in filing a timely claim, the appellate court found that this was not fatal to the plaintiffs’ case under the circumstances. According to the court, the plaintiffs had met their burden by showing that the defendant was aware – and had actual knowledge – of the “essential facts constituting the claim” within the time period set forth under New York statutory law for the filing of claims such as the one at bar. Because the defendant had knowledge of these facts within the requisite time, it would not be prejudiced in defending the case on its merits.
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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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In a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove four separate and distinct elements: that the defendant healthcare provider owed a certain standard of care to the plaintiff patient, that this duty was breached, that the plaintiff suffered damages, and that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages.

The plaintiff must provide expert testimony as to each of these elements. In the absence of such proof, the plaintiff’s case will fail, and judgment will be entered for the defendant.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant medical providers, claiming that she had suffered personal injuries due to the defendants’ negligence in performing pelvic surgery. In response, the defendants submitted evidence that they alleged showed that the plaintiff’s injury was due to a known risk that could occur even with competent surgical care. The Supreme Court of New York County granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint.

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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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New York medical malpractice lawsuits can involve many different types of injury to the body – even wrongful death. One recent case involved a claim brought by a woman who believed that she had suffered loss to her hearing and other injuries due to her doctor’s allegedly negligent treatment of an ear infection.

Unfortunately, both the trial court and the appellate court sided with the woman’s doctor, finding that no actionable medical negligence had occurred.

Facts of the Case

A case recently considered by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, involved a medical malpractice claim brought by the plaintiff patient against the defendant doctor seeking compensation for hearing loss that the plaintiff allegedly suffered due to the defendant’s negligent prescription of a certain medication to treat an ear infection. The plaintiff further averred that the defendant had failed to instruct her properly as to the administration of the drug at issue.

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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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