Nephrologists are doctors who specialize in treating medical conditions that impact the kidneys. The kidneys are organs that conduct important work for the body such as controlling blood pressure, handling waste, regulating blood cells, and balancing water. Like other healthcare providers, nephrologists may make mistakes that can result in serious harm to a patient. However, not every mistake or poor outcome amounts to malpractice. If you suspect you were harmed by nephrologist malpractice, the experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can provide a case evaluation to determine whether you have a viable claim.Nephrologist Errors
Patients typically visit nephrologists after being referred by their primary care doctors. To diagnose the patient, the nephrologists may order lab tests and imaging, including urine tests, ultrasounds, or biopsies. After the problem has been diagnosed, the nephrologist may recommend a treatment plan. However, for some complex conditions, the treatment, such as kidney transplant or cancer therapy, may need to be referred to a different specialist.
Nephrologists care for patients with kidney disease, kidney stones, chronic renal failure, chronic urinary tract infection, high blood pressure, mineral metabolism and electrolyte disorders. A nephrologist’s failure to diagnose or treat a kidney condition may result in the worsening of a kidney condition, loss of a kidney, neuropathy, heart disease, heart failure, or death due to renal failure. For example, if you developed an advanced cancer because your nephrologist delayed treatment due to misinterpreted diagnostic tests or misread imaging, the nephrologist may be held liable for medical malpractice. Alternatively, if your nephrologist prescribed an inappropriate type and dose of medication, such that your spouse developed renal failure and died, a lawyer may be able to hold the nephrologist accountable in a wrongful death lawsuit.Liability in a Nephrologist Malpractice Lawsuit
To establish liability for injuries arising out of a nephrologist’s error, you will need to show: (1) your nephrologist owed you a professional standard of care, (2) your nephrologist made a mistake that constituted a deviation from the professional standard of care, (3) the deviation caused injuries, and (4) damages. In most cases, you will need to retain an expert nephrologist to provide an opinion about the professional standard of care under the circumstances, how your nephrologist deviated from it, and causation.
Under New York’s locality rule, a health care provider’s actions are measured by looking at what other providers in the same specialty and locality would have done under similar circumstances. The question for an expert would be whether your nephrologist’s actions or omissions were in line with what other reasonably learned and skilled nephrologists in Syracuse would have done when faced with a similar set of circumstances.Damages
Once liability is established, compensatory damages may be awarded. These can include both tangible and intangible losses stemming from the nephrologist malpractice. Tangible losses cover past and future medical care, surgery, lost income, and replacement services. Intangible losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium.
A personal representative of a decedent’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if the decedent’s death was the result of kidney problems arising out of nephrologist malpractice. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose and treat your spouse’s chronic kidney disease and your spouse died as a result, you may be able to be appointed the personal representative of your spouse’s estate and sue for pecuniary losses arising out of his death.
Sometimes, multiple parties may be responsible, such as when a nephrologist, radiologist and the primary care doctor are all partially responsible for the failure to detect kidney cancer. New York follows a rule of modified joint and several liability. This means a defendant is held accountable for non-economic losses only in an amount equal to her percentage of fault unless she’s found over 50% at fault. However, defendants can be held jointly and severally liable for economic damages.Consult a Syracuse Attorney
When you visit a nephrologist for help with a kidney condition, you trust that the physician will be reasonably skilled and competent. Unfortunately, nephrologists sometimes make mistakes that cause serious harm. If you were harmed by nephrologist malpractice, you may be able to recover damages for any losses sustained as a result of the malpractice. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers represent injured patients in Upstate New York, including in Rochester, Syracuse, Cooperstown, Oneida, Lyons, Auburn, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Oswego, Wampsville, Ithaca, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Lowville and Utica. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.