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New York Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment to Defendants in Prostate Cancer Case

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.

The defendant doctor filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking judgment as a matter of law on the basis that the plaintiff had not raised any genuine issues of material fact such as required the case to be tried to a jury. The trial court granted the defendant’ motion, thereby dismissing the plaintiff’s case on summary judgment.

Decision of the Court

The Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the lower court’s order awarding summary judgment to the defendants. In so holding, the court agreed with the defendants’ argument that the plaintiff had not raised a triable issue of fact with regard to whether the defendants’ alleged negligence was the proximate cause of the injuries for which he sought money damages.

The defendants had submitted an expert’s affirmation in support of their motion, establishing that any delay in diagnosis caused by the defendants had not worsened the plaintiff’s prognosis. Insomuch as the plaintiff’s expert had produced no scientific data or medical facts sufficient to rebut the prima facie showing created by the defendants’ expert, the defendants were entitled to summary judgment.

Contact an Established Medical Malpractice Attorney

Knowing that one’s doctor has violated the faith and trust placed in him or her by failing to follow an established medical standard of care can be difficult to think about. However, if this has happened to you or a loved one, you need to take prompt legal action in order to maintain your right to seek justice in a court of law. To schedule an appointment to discuss a doctor’s negligent failure to diagnose prostate cancer or another act of medical negligence, please call the Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP, at 315-479-9000. We do not charge any upfront legal fees, so there is no reason to delay seeking legal guidance about your case.

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