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New York Court Discusses Establishing a Doctor’s Liability for a Patient’s Death

It is an unfortunate reality that a patient can visit a cardiologist, receive a clean bill of health, and subsequently suffer a fatal heart attack a few days later. In such instances, the inclination is most likely to believe that the cardiologist negligently performed its duties, and therefore should be liable for malpractice. As demonstrated in a recent New York ruling issued in a cardiology malpractice matter, however, that is not always the case. If you or your loved one sustained losses due to negligent treatment of a heart issue, you should speak to a  Syracuse cardiology malpractice lawyer regarding your potential claims.

The Decedent’s Care

Reportedly, the decedent presented to the hospital with complaints of chest pain in July 2012. He underwent a heart catheterization that showed he suffered from a 75% narrowing of a coronary artery, which he was advised could be treated with medication. A week later, he visited the defendant’s cardiologist for a second opinion. The defendant recommended that the decedent continue to treat his heart issues with medication instead of an angioplasty.

It is alleged that in October 2012, the decedent underwent a stress test that was interpreted by a second cardiologist named as a defendant, who determined the decedent did not require emergent care. One month later, however, the decedent suffered a fatal heart attack. The plaintiff, his wife,  commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging they failed to properly diagnose and treat a blockage in the decedent’s heart, The defendants ultimately moved for summary judgment, and the court granted their motion. The plaintiff appealed.

Establishing a Doctor’s Liability for a Patient’s Death

On appeal, the court noted that the key elements of medical malpractice claims are the departure from the accepted practice of medicine and proof that such departure proximately caused the injury sustained. Thus, a defendant doctor that files a motion for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case bears the initial burden of showing the absence of any departure from the accepted and good practice of medicine. Alternatively, the defendant can show that any such deviation from the applicable standard of care did not cause the plaintiff’s harm.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendants adequately demonstrated they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In other words, they offered expert testimony establishing that the decedent’s coronaries arteries were not obstructed, contrary to the plaintiff’s assertion. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Seasoned Syracuse Lawyer

Cardiac issues must be promptly diagnosed and treated, as tragically, the failure to address such concerns often leads to fatal harm. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a heart doctor’s negligence, you might be able to pursue damages via cardiology malpractice claims, and it is advisable to speak to an attorney regarding your options. The seasoned Syracuse attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess your losses and aid you in the pursuit of a just outcome. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

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