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New York Court Looks at What Constitutes a Deviation from the Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case

Patients typically rely on doctors to not only manage and treat existing medical conditions but also to prevent new conditions from arising. Unfortunately, doctors do not always take the measures necessary to prevent their patients from developing critical illnesses, which can lead to irreparable harm. It may also constitute grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Recently, a New York court discussed whether a doctor’s failure to notice a patient was at risk of suffering a stroke was grounds for imposing liability in a case in which the defendant sought dismissal of the claims against him. If you suffered preventable harm due to your doctor’s negligence, you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer about your right to seek compensation.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was brought to the defendant hospital’s emergency department due to symptoms that indicated she could be suffering a stroke, such as weakness, a headache, and dizziness. The defendant doctor ordered a CT scan of the brain, which a second doctor interpreted as normal. The defendant doctor examined the plaintiff and did not observe any signs that she was suffering from a stroke.

Allegedly, the defendant doctor ultimately diagnosed the plaintiff with a urinary tract infection and discharged her. The following day, the plaintiff was unable to move and was taken to a different hospital, where she was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke. She filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, who in turn moved for summary judgment. The court denied their motion, and they appealed.

Deviations from the Standard of Care

On appeal, the court rejected the defendants’ assertions that the trial court erred in denying their motion. First, the court noted that it was undisputed that the defendants met their burden of proving, prima facie, that they did not deviate from the standard of care or that their deviation did not cause the plaintiff to suffer injuries.

The court explained, however, that in response to the defendants’ motion, the plaintiff raised triable issues of fact by offering expert affidavits that stated both that the defendants departed from the applicable standard of care and that their departure proximately caused her harm. Further, the court declined to adopt the defendants’ arguments that the plaintiff’s expert reports were not sufficient because they relied on practice guidelines, as that was not offered as the sole evidence of the standard. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Talk to a Seasoned Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

Doctors undergo extensive training and skill to enable them to properly treat their patients, but they nonetheless can make mistakes that constitute medical malpractice. If you sustained injuries because of the carelessness of your doctor, it is smart to talk to an attorney about your options for seeking damages. The seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can inform you of your rights and help you fight to protect your interests. You can reach us via our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.

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