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New York Court Discusses Proving Medical Malpractice Caused a Person’s Death

If a person suddenly dies shortly after a medical procedure, their surviving family members may be inclined to think their demise was caused by incompetent medical care. Belief alone is not sufficient to establish liability for medical malpractice, however. In other words, a plaintiff must produce sound evidence showing that a defendant medical provider caused a person’s harm in order to recover damages, as discussed in a recent ruling issued by a New York court in a medical malpractice matter. If you lost a loved one due to negligent medical care, you have the right to pursue claims against their provider, and it is advisable to meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to assess your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant doctor performed a splenectomy on the decedent to address her low platelet count. During the procedure, he noticed she had a large gall stone and removed her gallbladder. Approximately five weeks after the surgery, she was admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. During her admission, she was diagnosed with an E. coli infection in her surgical wounds as well. She was discharged, and her infection eventually resolved.

Allegedly, approximately two years later, the decedent died due to natural causes. The plaintiff, the decedent’s husband, filed lack of informed consent and medical malpractice claims against the defendant. The defendant filed a motion seeking dismissal via summary judgment, and the court granted the motion. The plaintiff then appealed.

Proving Medical Malpractice Caused a Person’s Death

Under New York law, a defendant asking the court to dismiss medical malpractice claims via summary judgment must demonstrate, prima facie, either that they did not depart from the accepted practice of medicine or that any departure did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. If a defendant makes this showing, the burden then shifts to the plaintiff to rebut the defendant’s assertions.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant met his burden by producing an expert affidavit that opined, to a reasonable degree of certainty, he did not deviate from the standard of care. In response to the defendant’s submission, though, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact. Instead, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit was speculative, conclusory, and relied on facts that were not established by the record. Thus, the court found that it was insufficient to show that summary judgment should not be granted in favor of the defendant.

Meet with a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People who suffer the loss of a loved one due to medical malpractice may be able to recover substantial damages. If you suffered the loss of a loved one because of a careless physician, it us in your best interest to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer about your options. The seasoned attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are well-versed in what it takes to achieve favorable outcomes in medical malpractice cases, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.

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