We depend heavily upon the expertise of doctors and hospital personnel to properly diagnose and treat our medical conditions, illnesses, and injuries. Most of the time, they do, and we are grateful for their help.
Sometimes, however, mistakes are made, and the patient suffers great physical harm, pain, and suffering as a result. Most hospitals and physicians carry medical malpractice insurance that covers them in such situations, if the injured person is able to make out a claim for medical malpractice.
However, proving negligence against a medical provider is not always easy. Medical experts must be retained, records must be reviewed, and various court proceedings are likely to ensue if the case is not settled early.
Facts of the Case
In a case originally filed in the Supreme Court of New York County and recently considered by an appellate tribunal, the plaintiff was a man who sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against the defendants, a doctor, a hospital, and others, after allegedly suffering an injury to his testicle. The defendants moved for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff had failed to raise a triable issue of fact. The trial court agreed with the defendants and dismissed the plaintiff’s cause of action against them. The plaintiff appealed, seeking review of the trial court’s order of summary judgment against him.
Decision of the Court
The New York Appellate Division, First Department, reversed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment for the defendants and remanded the case for further proceedings. In the reviewing court’s opinion, the defendants had met their burden of demonstrating the absence of a departure from accepted medical practice via their expert witness’s affirmation, but the plaintiff’s expert’s affirmation was sufficient to raise issues of fact appropriate for the jury’s consideration.
According to the defendants, they acted appropriately in ruling out testicular torsion (a condition in which the testes twist in a way that reduces blood supply to the scrotum) and, instead, diagnosing the plaintiff with epididymitis (an inflammation at the back of the testicle, usually caused by infection) based on the results of an ultrasound. The plaintiff acknowledged that, at the time of the ultrasound, his testicle did not appear to be torsed; however, he insisted that, torsion was present when he first sought medical attention and that the testicle must have un-torsed and then re-torsed while he was in the hospital. This theory was supported by the plaintiff’s medical expert, who opined that there were multiple factors present that should have suggested to the defendants that the plaintiff did not have epididymitis, including a difference in the lie of his testicles consistent with torsion.
Legal Advocates Reviewing Malpractice Cases in Upstate New York
Hospitals are where we go when we need help. Unfortunately, we do not always find appropriate medical assistance in an emergency room, hospital, or doctor’s office. Medical professionals sometimes make mistakes, and patients can be left with devastating injuries as a result. In extreme cases, patients can even die after an error committed by a doctor or hospital. If you have questions about your legal rights regarding a potential Syracuse hospital malpractice case, call the attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP at 315-479-9000 and ask for a free case evaluation.