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New York Court Discusses Burdens of Proof in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

Typically, the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better a patient’s prognosis is; thus, delayed diagnoses caused by medical oversights can drastically impair a person’s outcome. People harmed by a missed or delayed diagnosis will often pursue medical malpractice claims against their doctors, and while in some cases, liability is clear in others, it is less certain. In a recent opinion delivered in a New York medical malpractice case, the court discussed what evidence each party must offer to show that judgment should be granted in their favor. If you suffered losses due to a missed diagnosis, you have the right to seek damages, and you should meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent met with the defendant after a CAT scan showed a mass in his abdomen. The defendant performed an endoscopy, took biopsies, and ultimately diagnosed the decedent with adenocarcinoma. He underwent chemotherapy, but after the mass was removed, it was determined to be a different type of cancer that required an alternative treatment plan. The decedent’s diagnosis was later reverted back to adenocarcinoma, but he ultimately died due to cancer complications in 2012.

Reportedly, the plaintiff, acting as the administrator of the decedent’s estate, filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant. The defendant moved for dismissal of the claims against him via summary judgment, arguing that as he did not deviate from the standard of care, he could not be deemed liable for the decedent’s death. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and he appealed.

Burdens of Proof in New York Medical Malpractice Cases

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that in order for a plaintiff to establish that a doctor is liable for medical malpractice, they must show that the doctor departed from the standards of practice that are accepted within the community and that the departure proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer harm.

Thus, a defendant seeking summary judgment in their favor must either show that there was no such deviation from the accepted standards of practice or that any deviation that occurred did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries. If the defendant makes this showing, the plaintiff must then demonstrate that a material factual dispute exists to avoid dismissal. In the subject case, the appellate court noted that the defendant established, prima facie, that he did not deviate from the accepted standard of care. The plaintiff, though, raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the defendant proximately caused the decedent’s harm. Thus, the trial court correctly denied the defendant’s motion.

Talk to an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A timely diagnosis is crucial to a good prognosis in many cancer patients, and delays can drastically harm a patient’s potential for recovery. If your doctor made mistakes that caused a delay in your cancer diagnosis, you have the right to seek damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, and you should talk to an attorney about your potential claims. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at proving that negligent health care providers should be held accountable for the losses they cause, and if we represent you, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a consultation.

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