Serving Clients Throughout Upstate New York with Multiple Convenient Locations Syracuse | Oneida | Watertown | New Hartford | Binghamton | Cortland | Rochester | Oswego | Albany | Buffalo

New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

In New York, EMTs providing ambulance services constitutes healthcare. As such, if they render their services improperly, they can be liable for medical malpractice. Not all duties performed by EMTs require an analysis of the standard of care imposed on health professionals, however, as some errors merely constitute negligence. In a recent New York case, the court discussed the difference between negligence and medical malpractice, ultimately determining that the plaintiff set forth a malpractice claim. If you were injured by inadequate medical care, it is wise to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to determine what damages you may be owed.

Factual History of the Case

It is alleged that in May 2017, police officers had an altercation with the decedent that ultimately resulted in an officer shooting the decedent. The defendant ambulance company was dispatched to the scene to provide the decedent with emergency medical services and to transport him to the hospital following the incident.

Reportedly, the decedent passed away, after which the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the city and the defendant ambulance company, asserting wrongful death and negligence claims. The specific claim against the defendant ambulance company alleged it negligently provided first aid and medical treatment to the decedent, resulting in his death. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the claim sounded in medical malpractice, and as the plaintiff failed to offer expert testimony in support of her claim, it should be dismissed.

Medical Malpractice Versus Ordinary Negligence

In its analysis, the court explained that medical malpractice is a subset of negligence. The distinction between the two is whether the actions involve medical science or art, necessitating special skills not possessed by laypersons. When the conduct relates to medical treatment, it’s considered malpractice, while negligence pertains to other duties.

The court noted that New York law has distinct statutes of limitations for these torts, further emphasizing their separation. Simple negligence claims against medical providers do not require expert medical opinion evidence, relying on common knowledge. In contrast, medical malpractice claims demand expert medical opinion evidence, except for matters within laymen’s ordinary experience and knowledge.

In the subject case, the parties disagreed as to whether the plaintiff’s claims alleged the defendant committed medical malpractice and, therefore, whether the plaintiff needed to adduce expert testimony to support her claims. The court ultimately found that errors made while providing ambulance services and first aid care fall under the category of medical malpractice, requiring specialized knowledge beyond common lay understanding. Specifically, decisions regarding the type, duration, and manner of first aid, ambulance response times, medical intervention, stabilization, and appropriate medical facility for transport are all matters beyond common knowledge and thus constitute medical malpractice. As such, it granted the defendant’s motion.

Meet with a Skilled Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

All healthcare providers are expected to offer their patients competent care, and if they do not, they may be liable for medical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to the carelessness of a medical professional, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your rights. The skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and aid you in seeking the best legal result available. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.

Contact Information