Colorectal surgeons diagnose and treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, which covers the anal canal, rectum, perianal area, and colon. In the past, these specialists were commonly referred to as proctologists. When colorectal surgeons misdiagnose or mistreat a disease, their patients may experience worsening conditions or even death. If you suspect you were harmed by proctologist malpractice, you should contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano for a consultation. Our Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case to determine whether you have a viable claim.Proctologist Errors
Patients usually will not see a colorectal surgeon unless they have been diagnosed and referred by a primary care doctor. The proctologist may seek to better understand the patient’s precise condition by using procedures such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, or ultrasounds. From these examinations, the physician may be able to prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. Medical conditions of the intestinal tract include colon cancer, rectal prolapse, rectal cancer, anal skin tags, abscesses and fistulae, diverticulitis, fissures, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and polyps. Sexually transmitted diseases like genital herpes may be treated by a proctologist, too.
A colorectal surgeon can misdiagnose or mistreat an intestinal tract condition, or commit a medical error before, during, or after a surgical procedure. For example, if a proctologist fails to remove a malignant polyp for biopsy during a colonoscopy and this omission may result in a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of colon cancer and may constitute medical malpractice. Similarly, if a surgeon failed to recognize a dangerous perforation in an adjacent organ during a colonoscopy or discharged you without repairing a perforation in the colon, you may experience serious injuries as a result and may be able to sue for medical malpractice.Liability in a Proctologist Malpractice Lawsuit
In order to obtain damages from a proctologist in a medical malpractice lawsuit, you will need to prove: (1) the doctor owed you a professional standard of care, (2) the doctor deviated from the professional standard of care, (3) the deviation caused your injuries and (4) damages. Your lawyer will need to retain an expert to testify about the professional standard of care, how your surgeon deviated from it, and causation. Sometimes, it may also be necessary to retain an expert to testify about damages.
New York follows the locality rule under which colorectal surgeons are expected to use the reasonable degree of skill and learning ordinarily possessed by surgeons that practice in the same specialty and location. Under the locality rule, the plaintiff injured in Syracuse must find an expert witness who is familiar with the professional standard of care applicable for Syracuse colon and rectal surgeons. For example, if a board-certified colon and rectal surgeon testifies that a proctologist of reasonable skill and learning in Syracuse would have removed your polyp, the failure of your surgeon to do so may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if the polyp was malignant and the delay in treatment caused you additional injuries.
You will also need to file a certificate of merit with your medical malpractice complaint. In a proctologist malpractice case, the certificate of merit will need to state that your lawyer consulted with an expert familiar with the relevant issues of your case and that she concluded your case has merit.
Sometimes, a proctologist will collaborate with the primary care physician or surgeons from other specialties, such as a gastroenterologist or oncologist. When several physicians contributed to an error that resulted in injuries, New York allows you to hold a proctologist jointly and severally liable with other health care providers with regard to economic losses arising out of injury. However, a proctologist will only be held accountable for noneconomic losses according to her percentage of responsibility for an injury, unless she’s found more than 50% responsible for the injury.Damages
If you are able to establish liability for medical malpractice, you may be able to obtain compensatory damages. These are damages intended to return you to the position you would have been in had you not been injured. Economic damages may include items of loss such as past and future out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, medical bills, and replacement services. Noneconomic damages can vary significantly depending on what intangible harm jurors believe naturally flow from the injuries at issue, how your case is presented, and your testimony. They may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment and mental anguish.
If a loved one died as a result of medical malpractice, it may be possible to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.Consult With a Syracuse Attorney
If you were injured by proctologist malpractice, you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent injured patients and their families in Upstate New York, including in Rochester, Syracuse, Canandaigua, Oneida, Auburn, Cooperstown, Lyons, Oswego, Binghamton, Ithaca, Wampsville, Watertown, Elmira, Herkimer, Lowville, and Utica. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or via our online form.