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Summary Judgment Granted to New York Hospital Despite Patient’s Allegation of Delay in Treating Gunshot Wound

Doctors and hospitals make mistakes, just like other individuals and institutions. Sometimes an act of negligence involves the timing of treatment more than the actual procedure or diagnosis. The hospital or physician may have, eventually, done the right thing, but the delay may have caused a patient to suffer unnecessarily or it may have made his or her condition worse than it would have other been. When this happens, the injured patient has a right to seek monetary compensation with the assistance of a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer to help offset the additional medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering caused by the act of malpractice.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case considered on appeal by the New York Appellate Division, First Department,  the plaintiff was an infant who, through his mother and natural guardian, brought suit against the defendant hospital in the Supreme Court of Bronx County, seeking monetary compensation for personal injuries he allegedly sustained due to the defendant’s delay in surgically intervening to treat a medical condition that allegedly developed after the infant suffered a gunshot in his right leg. According to the plaintiff’s view of the case, the defendant should have acted quicker in treating the infant’s compartment syndrome (the building of excessive pressure inside an enclosed muscular space, usually caused from bleeding or swelling brought on by an acute injury).

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff had failed to present a triable issue of fact. The trial court ruled in the defendant’s favor on the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

The reviewing court affirmed the lower tribunal’s order granting summary judgment to the defendant. According to the court, the defendant had met its burden of showing that either there had been no departure from good and accepted medical practice or, if there was such a departure, this was not the proximate cause of the injuries and damages complained of by the plaintiff. In the court’s opinion, the defendant met this burden by submitting evidence that it had timely commenced a fasciotomy (a procedure to relieve tension in the tissue or muscle in order to treat a loss of circulation in the area) and that, because of this action, the infant did not suffer any permanent damage to the tissue or muscles in his leg.

The court went on to opine that, in response to the defendant’s evidence on the matter, the plaintiff had failed to raise a triable factual issue. The court noted that, although the plaintiff did offer an expert’s opinion regarding the infant’s treatment by the defendant, the expert had misstated the time that the infant was first diagnosed with compartment syndrome. Consequently, the expert’s assertion that there has been a “significant delay” in treatment and his “conclusory opinion” that this delay caused harm to the infant were not enough to overcome the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Contact a Syracuse Hospital Negligence Attorney

If you believe that a hospital has committed medical malpractice against you or a family member, you need prompt, reliable legal advice about your case. To schedule an appointment to learn more about how the law firm of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP can be of assistance to you in this situation, please call us at 315-479-9000, and we will be glad to schedule an appointment in our offices to discuss your Syracuse hospital malpractice claim.

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