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New York Court Rules that Medical Malpractice Claim of Patient Suffering Vision Issues Fails

In order to successfully maintain a Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to provide evidence that the defendant breached the standard of care that applied to the particular situation at hand and that this breach was the proximate cause of any damages for which the plaintiff seeks compensation. Many times, the defendant in a medical negligence lawsuit will seek dismissal of the claim on the grounds that the plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial. Only if there is a genuine issue of material fact that must be resolved by the finder of fact (the jury or, sometimes, the trial court judge) will the case proceed past the summary judgment phase of litigation.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent New York medical malpractice case alleged that he had suffered corneal edema due to surgery performed by the defendant osteopathy doctor. More particularly, the plaintiff asserted that an “ex-press” glaucoma shunt surgery had caused him to need cornea transplant surgery and suffer loss of vision in one eye. The plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of New York County. The defendant sought dismissal of the claim against her, arguing that she was entitled to summary judgment insomuch as the defendant had present a triable issue of fact. The trial court agreed that the defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law and dismissed the plaintiff’s malpractice and informed consent claims.

The Resolution of the Appeal

The New York Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the lower court’s ruling, thus agreeing that it had been proper to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint. According to the reviewing court, the plaintiff had not provided the necessary evidence to survive the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Rather, in the reviewing court’s view, the plaintiff had merely “reiterated that the defendant was responsible” for his injuries.

The court likewise found no merit to the plaintiff’s allegation that the doctor’s actions in “fraudulently holding herself out” as a medical doctor when, in fact, she was only licensed to practice medicine in the State of New York under a doctor of osteopathy degree, amounted to malpractice. According to the court, the plaintiff’s allegations were concerning professional misconduct, not medical negligence. Even if the plaintiff’s allegations were true, they amount to only professional misconduct – not medical malpractice – and, as such, did not grant the plaintiff a private right of action.

Consult a Syracuse Medical Negligence Attorney

If you believe that a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional has been negligent during an eye procedure, causing harm to you or a family member, you need to talk to an experienced malpractice lawyer. Because there are strict filing deadlines for medical malpractice claims, it is important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible, lest you let the filing deadline slip by and find your legal rights forfeited. For an appointment to discuss your case with a member of the DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Syracuse malpractice team, call us now at 315-479-9000 and ask for a free case evaluation.

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