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New York Court Examines Proximate Cause in Medical Malpractice Cases

Emergency room doctors encounter a plethora of conditions that vary in severity throughout the course of their day. Regardless of what type of issues they are presented with, however, they have an obligation to offer treatment that complies with the standard of care. If the care they render falls outside of what is considered the accepted and good practice of medicine and causes a patient harm, it may be grounds for pursuing malpractice claims. Recently, a New York court analyzed whether a doctor’s behavior constituted malpractice in a case in which the plaintiff suffered brain injuries due to a missed diagnosis. If you were harmed by incompetent medical care, you should meet with a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your potential claims.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff went to the defendant’s hospital after she was experiencing difficulty speaking or thinking and seeing flashing lights for most of the day. She was assessed as a 0 on the stroke scale. The defendant emergency room doctor ordered a brain MRI regardless but discharged her before it was reviewed. The defendant radiologist, who reviewed the MRI, found no evidence of stroke upon his first review, but upon a second review found a stroke.

Allegedly, the plaintiff returned to the hospital the following morning with additional symptoms. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. The defendants moved for summary judgment at the close of discovery. The court denied the defendant radiologist’s motion but granted the defendant hospital’s and defendant doctor’s motion. The plaintiff and the defendant radiologist appealed.

Proximate Cause in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court agreed with the plaintiff that the trial court erred in granting the defendant hospital’s motion and modified the order accordingly. The court explained that in a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of a medical malpractice claim a defendant bears the burden of showing, prima facie, that they did not deviate from the accepted and good standard of care or that any such deviation did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s harm.

The plaintiff must show that a triable issue of fact exists on any issues on which the defendant met its burden in order to withstand summary judgment. Here, the court found that the defendant doctor and hospital met their burden of proof. Contrary to the trial court’s ruling, though, it also found that the plaintiff showed triable issues of fact existed. Thus, it reversed the trial court ruling as to the defendant hospital and doctor. It affirmed the remainder of the ruling.

Confer with an Experienced Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

When doctors disregard concerning symptoms, it often leads to critical harm. If you sustained permanent injuries because of your doctor’s failure to diagnose you in a timely manner, you might be able to recover compensation via a medical malpractice lawsuit, and you should contact a lawyer. The experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers take pride in helping people injured by negligent doctors in the pursuit of justice, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can contact us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.

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