Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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There are a seemingly endless variety of ways in which a medical provider’s neglect and lack of concern for patient safety can lead to a Syracuse medical negligence case. In addition to cases involving a doctor’s failure to diagnose a serious illness within a reasonable amount of time or a surgeon’s neglect to obtain informed consent before performing a risky medical procedure, there are many other situations in which a patient can be hurt by an act of negligence committed by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare worker.

Of course, results are seldom guaranteed in the medical field, and opinions can vary about what was, and what was not, negligence. Sometimes, it is up to the jury to makes these decisions, but courts can enter summary judgment on the issue in certain circumstances.

Because summary judgment effectively ends the plaintiff’s case, at least as to some claims, and/or some defendants, a court’s ruling on this matter is reviewable on appeal. The burden on appeal rests on the party seeking to disturb the lower court’s ruling; if the appellate tribunal is not convinced that a mistake was made, the trial court’s opinion will likely stand.

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One of the major differences in a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit and other types of negligence cases is the requirement that the plaintiff provide testimony from one or more expert witnesses. In almost all medical malpractices cases, a doctor or other healthcare professional must be willing to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf in order for him or her to prevail at trial.

There are many rules about which experts are qualified to testify and the scope of such testimony. Disputes arise frequently concerning these matters, with the trial court (and sometimes the appellate tribunals, as well) being called upon for resolution of the disagreements.

A person who has been hurt by a medical professional’s mistake should talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney about the process of retaining an expert witness, filing a claim, and moving the case towards trial. It is important to note that not just any attorney can successfully handle a medical malpractice case, so it important to hire a firm who has experience in these types of cases.

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Reaching a successful verdict or favorable settlement in a Syracuse medical malpractice case is not easy. In addition to the factual requirements (which, at least to a large degree, must be presented through the testimony of expert witnesses) of proving such a claim, there are many procedural steps that must also be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

These procedural matters include the filing of the requisite paperwork within the statute of limitation period, the completion of discovery during the time allotted by law, and appearances at various hearings scheduled by the trial court. There are many pitfalls that await a litigant who seeks to represent himself or herself – or one who makes the mistake of retaining an attorney not well-versed in these requirements.

Some penalties for untimely action or failure to appear at a particular judicially scheduled event are met with repercussions that, while detrimental, do not serve to put an end to the plaintiff’s case. Sometimes, however, a procedural misstep can spell the end of the plaintiff’s attempt to seek fair compensation for damages caused by a negligent healthcare provider.

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While mothers and infants generally fare much better during labor and delivery than they did in years past, Syracuse birth injuries still happen regularly. Obstetricians, anesthesiologists, nurses, and others are quick to point out that complications can arise even when healthcare workers “do everything right.”

However, these medical workers are human, and they don’t always “do everything right.” When things go wrong, the costs on the family can be staggering. Medical expenses, lost wage for the parent(s), lost earning potential for the child, and pain and suffering are all damages for which a malpractice victim can be financially compensated by the jury in a medical malpractice case – if the case makes it to trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a minor child who was born at the defendant hospital via an emergency cesarean section. The plaintiff’s complaint setting forth a claim for medical malpractice alleged that his birth occurred after a prolonged slowing of his heartbeat during delivery and that he suffered numerous injuries as a result from the defendant’s deviation from the accepted standard of care. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, urging the trial court to hold that the plaintiff had failed to provide sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue material fact such that proceeding to trial was necessary.

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One of the first questions that must be dealt with in a Syracuse medical malpractice case is that of jurisdiction. This is usually a fairly straightforward issue, as the plaintiff and his or her physicians or other attendant medical personnel typically all reside within the state in which the allegedly negligent medical treatment took place.

This is not always so, however. In such instances, there may be a plausible argument for jurisdiction in multiple states, or in multiple courts within a single state. Sometimes, the question is whether to file suit in state or federal court. An established medical malpractice lawyer can assist you in determining the best course of action if you or a loved one has been injured by a doctor or nurse’s mistake.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, arising in the Supreme Court, Kings County, the plaintiff was a woman who was involved in a New Jersey automobile accident in 2013. As a result of the wreck, the plaintiff was treated by various medical providers and was prescribed a certain medication. According to the woman’s complaint against several healthcare providers and drug manufacturers, she developed a condition known as “Stevens Johnson syndrome” as a result of the medication that she took following the car crash. The plaintiff’s prescription was allegedly filled in New York, although at least some of her medical care took place in New Jersey. She filed suit in 2014, seeking to recover money damages on several different legal theories, including medical malpractice, strict product liability, failure to warn, and breach of warranty.

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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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Birth injuries caused by negligence during childbirth and delivery are, unfortunately, quite common. Just like surgeons and general practitioners, obstetricians and pediatricians sometimes make mistakes, and both mother and child can suffer serious, sometimes even fatal, consequences.

As with other types of Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. Typically, the defendant will attempt to get the case dismissed prior to trial via summary judgment.

When this happens, the result usually depends on the strength of the parties’ respective medical expert witnesses. Unless there is a genuine issue of material fact presented by their affidavits, the court will likely rule in the defendant’s favor.

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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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Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits often come down to a “battle of the experts.” Sometimes this happens during the pre-trial phase, in which the parties submit their respective expert witnesses’ statements in support of, or in opposition to, a motion by the defendant(s) for judgment as a matter of law. Unless the plaintiff’s expert opinion is such that it can effectively refute the defendant’s motion and the defendant’s evidence in support thereof, the plaintiff’s case may end before it reaches the trial phase.

In other situations, the case proceeds to a jury trial, and multiple experts testify. Each will likely offer a different opinion, and it will be up to the jury to resolve any conflicts in the testimony of these witnesses. If you believe that you have a claim for medical malpractice against a doctor or other health care provider, you should talk to an attorney who can assist you in the process of finding an appropriate expert witness to review your medical records and, if necessary, testify at trial.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a recent medical malpractice case arising in the Supreme Court of Kings County were the statutory wrongful death claimants of a 51-year-old man who died after being treated by the defendant medical providers several times over a multi-day period in 2009. The man had suffered with high blood pressure since his teens but had stopped taking his medication for hypertension about 6 months prior to his treatment by the defendants. When he first presented to the emergency room, he complained of a mild cough, chest pain, fever, chills, and malaise.  He was admitted to the hospital and released three days later, returned the same day that he was released only to return the next day, and died about a week later after having experienced both a stroke and a heart attack.

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