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New York Court Discusses a Doctor’s Liability for Mental Harm Caused by Medical Malpractice

While there are risks associated with most surgical procedures, patients are usually aware of the potential complications that can arise and choose to proceed regardless. In some instances, though, mistakes made during surgery can cause a patient to suffer unanticipated injuries that not only cause physical pain but also lead to anxiety and depression. Recently, a New York court discussed a doctor’s assertion that physical harm caused by medical negligence could not impact a patient’s mental health status, in an opinion in which it ultimately rejected the doctor’s argument. If you were injured during a carelessly performed procedure, you have the right to seek compensation for your harm, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to determine what evidence you must offer to establish liability.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the defendant performed a hysterectomy on the plaintiff in September 2014. During the procedure, the defendant mistakenly cut the plaintiff’s right ureter. As a result, the plaintiff subsequently suffered from depression, difficult and painful urination, kidney and bladder dysfunction, and other issues. Accordingly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his negligence caused her harm. The defendant moved for dismissal via summary judgment, but the court denied his motion. He then appealed.

A Doctor’s Liability for Mental Harm Caused by Medical Malpractice

On appeal, the court held that the trial court properly denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment but clarified that it should have done so on different grounds. Specifically, the court noted that the medical expert affidavit submitted by the defendant neglected to address the plaintiff’s alleged psychological harm.

Further, to the extent the affidavit connected the plaintiff’s urinary issues to the specific mental health injuries asserted in her bill of particulars, the opinion he offered was speculative and conclusory. The expert affidavit also neglected to opine that the defendant’s alleged malpractice did not cause the plaintiff’s claimed injuries. Instead, the expert speculated on the cause of such injuries.

Based on the foregoing, the court found that the defendant’s expert opinion was insufficient to demonstrate the defendant’s prima facie entitlement to summary judgment in his favor. As such, the court found that it was not necessary to assess the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s response filed in opposition to the defendant’s motion and, instead, affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Talk to a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Improperly performed procedures can cause a variety of injuries, including but not limited to mental health issues, and doctors that cause such injuries may be liable for medical malpractice. If you sustained losses because of the negligence of your doctor, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your potential claims as soon as possible. The trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and assist you in pursuing the full amount of damages recoverable under the law. You can reach us by calling 833-247-8427 or by using our form online to set up a conference.

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