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New York Discusses Negligence in the Context of Medical Malpractice Cases

When a patient suffers harm due to a doctor’s negligent performance of their duties, the doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice. Not all harm caused by medical professionals constitutes malpractice, though, as in some cases, an injury may be the result of simple negligence. In an opinion recently delivered by a New York court, the distinctions between negligence and medical malpractice were discussed. If you suffered harm while receiving medical treatment, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Decedent’s Harm

It is reported that the decedent was a resident of the defendant’s nursing home. The decedent, who was in a wheelchair, was being transferred from the home to a doctor’s appointment via an ambulance owned by the defendant transportation group. When the defendant transportation group’s employee placed the defendant on the ambulance’s lift, she was propelled to the ground due to a lack of proper restraints. She sustained critical injuries in the fall that ultimately proved to be fatal.

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, asserting wrongful death claims. The defendants moved to compel the plaintiff to serve a notice of malpractice and certificate of merit pursuant to New York law. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion, and they appealed.

Key Differences Between Medical Malpractice and Negligence

On appeal, the trial court ruling was affirmed. The court explained that the plaintiff’s claims sounded in negligence, not medical malpractice, and therefore she was not required to serve a certificate of merit or a notice of medical malpractice.

In New York, the differences between negligence and medical malpractice are subtle, as medical malpractice is merely a kind of negligence. In other words, no rigid line separates the two. Instead, a claim will sound in medical negligence when the conduct in question is considered medical treatment or it bears a substantial relationship to such treatment by a licensed doctor.

In contrast, if the gist of a complaint is the failure to perform a duty other than furnishing medical treatment to a plaintiff, the claim will sound in negligence. In the subject case, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant failed to adequately secure the decedent’s wheelchair in the ambulance or use proper restraints. The complaint did not include any allegations that such omissions were the result of inadequate medical care. As such, the court ruled that the trial court properly dismissed the defendant’s motion.

Meet with a Trusted Syracuse Medical Malpractice Attorney

People injured in the course of medical care can often recover damages via medical malpractice claims. If you were hurt by the negligence of a healthcare provider, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney. The trusted Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers possess the skills and experience needed to establish liability in medical malpractice cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a meeting.

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