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New York Court Analyzes Ordinary Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice

Expert testimony is a key element of New York medical malpractice cases. In other words, in most instances, it is necessary to establish the standard of care and to demonstrate that the defendant failed to comply with the standard. A plaintiff cannot avoid the obligation to offer expert testimony by attempting to couch medical malpractice claims as negligence, either, as demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a New York court. If you were hurt by the negligence of a doctor, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to determine what evidence you must produce to demonstrate liability.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered two gunshot wounds to his right arm in 2016 that caused the loss of sensation in his ring and pinky fingers of the right hand. He underwent treatment for his injuries at the defendant’s hospital; his care included occupational therapy and the use of hot and cold packs. During one appointment, the therapist left a hot pack on his hand for an extended period of time. When she removed it, the plaintiff noticed a blister.

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant’s emergency room on two different occasions but did not receive any treatment for his finger. He was later diagnosed with necrosis of the finger by another physician. He filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant seeking damages for his losses. The defendant moved for summary judgment, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed.

Ordinary Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice

The court affirmed the trial court ruling on appeal. In its opinion, the court noted that the defendant demonstrated its prima facie right to judgment in its favor as a matter of law by submitting an expert affidavit opining that defendant’s employees did not depart from the accepted standard of care in the treatment of the plaintiff. In response, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that a triable issue of fact existed, in part because he neglected to offer an expert affidavit.

The court declined to adopt the plaintiff’s reasoning that his claims regarding the occupational therapist sounded in negligence rather than medical malpractice, noting that the conduct at issue arose out of the duty the therapist owed to the plaintiff pursuant to the patient-doctor relationship and substantially related to his medical treatment. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Capable Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

There are key differences between medical malpractice and negligence claims, and it is important that a person harmed by incompetent medical care choose their cause of action properly; otherwise they may be denied the right to recover compensation. If you suffered harm because of the carelessness of a doctor, you should talk to an attorney about your possible claims. The capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can inform you of your potential claims and help you to pursue any damages you may be owed. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

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