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Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated in general and can become especially complex when they involve claims against facilities that receive funding from the federal government, as they involve additional requirements. The consequences of skirting such obligations were shown in a recent hospital malpractice case in New York in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to his failure to comply with procedural requirements. If you were hurt by negligent care in a hospital, it is critical to retain a dedicated Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to help you protect your right to pursue damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant facility, which receives federal funding, with complaints of an inability to urinate. While he was at the defendant facility, he was on a metal bed when the frame fell apart, causing him to fall and sustain a hip fracture. As a result, he had to undergo surgery and suffered from reduced mobility and an altered mental status. He filed an administrative claim relating to his injury with the appropriate federal agency. The agency did not respond to his claim, however. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth claims of medical malpractice and negligent hiring. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies in compliance with the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) and that due to this failure, the court could not exercise jurisdiction over the matter.

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Under the FTCA, a plaintiff must present a claim to a federal agency, and the claim must be denied before the plaintiff can proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit. The court explained that, as the goal of this requirement is to avoid unnecessary litigation, the plaintiff must also provide the agency with sufficient information with which to investigate the claim and evaluate its worth. In other words, the claim must be detailed enough to fulfill the purpose of the FTCA, which is to allow the federal government to facilitate the fair resolution of tort claims. The court further explained that the requirement that a plaintiff adequately present his or her claim is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived.

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Frequently, a plaintiff harmed by negligent health care will be able to pursue more than one cause of action in a lawsuit against his or her treatment provider. For example, in many instances, a plaintiff will assert both a medical malpractice claim and a lack of informed consent claim. While plaintiffs generally have the right to pursue multiple claims, if they fail to do so in the proper manner, one or more of their claims may be dismissed. This was shown in a recent ob-gyn malpractice case in New York in which the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent claim against a government-owned hospital was barred due to the plaintiff’s failure to provide proper notice. If you or your child suffered injuries due to a doctor’s careless treatment during your pregnancy, it is wise to consult a seasoned Rochester ob-gyn malpractice attorney to discuss your right to pursue damages.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant hospital, which was funded by the federal government, during her pregnancy. She ultimately gave birth to her son at the defendant hospital, via cesarean section, but he tragically passed away later that day. Following an autopsy, the cause of the infant’s death was determined to be respiratory distress syndrome, which was caused by the immaturity of his lungs and hyaline membrane disease. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant and its employees.

Allegedly, the federal government substituted itself as the defendant, due to the fact that the facility was federally supported. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims due to her failure to comply with several aspects of the Federal Tort Claims Act, including the failure to properly inform the defendant she intended to pursue a lack of informed consent claim.

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Although most people who pursue medical malpractice claims in New York will ask a jury of their peers to determine liability and assess damages, juries do not always issue verdicts that are in accordance with the evidence of record. For example, in some cases, a jury will find in favor of a defendant despite clear evidence of negligence. Additionally, a jury may issue a verdict that is arguably incomprehensible, by finding that a defendant committed malpractice but that the plaintiff is not owed any compensation. A plaintiff’s recourse in such instances was discussed in a recent New York medical malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s husband died due to negligent care. If you lost a loved one because of a health care provider’s incompetence, it is prudent to talk to a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice attorney to analyze what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant doctor that treated the plaintiff’s decedent and the hospital where he received treatment, alleging that their negligence caused the decedent’s harm and ultimate demise. The case eventually proceeded to trial. After deliberating, the jury found that the defendants were negligent and awarded the plaintiff $25,000 for the decedent’s suffering and pain but did not award any pecuniary damages. The plaintiff filed an order asking the court to set aside the jury’s verdict in part and to order a new trial solely on the issue of damages. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Damages Awarded in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the jury’s decision not to award pecuniary damages to the plaintiff and her adult children was against the weight of the evidence. The court found that the plaintiff’s argument lacked merit, however. Specifically, contrary to the established standard under New York law for granting a new trial, the evidence of record on the issue of the financial damages the plaintiff suffered due to the decedent’s death was not so strongly in favor of the plaintiff that the verdict could not have been reached based on a fair interpretation of the evidence.

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In medical malpractice claims in New York, the burden shifts between the parties with regards to proving or disproving that a party’s harm was caused by incompetent care. In other words, if a defendant produces evidence sufficient to refute a plaintiff’s claims, the lawsuit may be dismissed unless the plaintiff then establishes that a factual dispute exists that requires a trial. A plaintiff must refute each of the defendant’s assertions, though; otherwise, some claims may be dismissed even if others survive, as shown in a recent hospital malpractice case. If you were hurt because of incompetent care that you received while you were admitted to a hospital, it is in your best interest to discuss your harm with a zealous Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to determine what you must show to recover damages.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent heart surgery in 2014. He suffered significant complications following the surgery and was placed on a ventilator that circulated his blood outside of his body via an artificial lung. Shortly after the surgery, his condition worsened, and he was transported to the operating room. The defendant was the attending physician during the transport, during which the artificial lung was unintendedly disconnected. As a result, the plaintiff suffered devastating brain injuries and substantial blood loss.

The plaintiff and his wife then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims via summary judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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In New York, a party alleging that a doctor committed medical malpractice typically must produce an expert report to establish the manner in which the doctor failed to comply with the standard of care and to link the doctor’s acts to the purported harm. Simply producing a report is not sufficient, however, if the report fails to demonstrate that there are disputed issues of fact as to whether the defendant doctor should be held liable for the plaintiff’s losses. The danger of failing to produce an adequate expert report was highlighted in a recent New York case in which the appellate court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against a primary care physician. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to the negligence of your treating doctor, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Rochester primary care malpractice attorney to assess what evidence you must produce to prove liability.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s wife visited the defendant primary care physician in May 2013, complaining of a recent sudden weight loss, dry cough, and shortness of breath. The defendant ordered numerous diagnostic tests and prescribed the plaintiff antibiotics. The plaintiff’s wife visited the defendant two days later. During the second treatment session, the defendant ordered a pulmonary consultation and directed the plaintiff’s wife to follow up with him in two weeks. The plaintiff’s wife suffered a cardiac arrest the following day, however, and died three weeks later.

It is reported that the CT scan that was conducted prior to the plaintiff’s wife’s death but not reviewed until after she died indicated that she had numerous tumors on her spine, liver, and lungs that were believed to be cancerous. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant for failing to recommend the plaintiff’s wife seek emergency care. The defendant ultimately filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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Medical doctors are held to a specific standard of care, and if they depart from the standard, they can be held accountable for injuries or illnesses caused by their incompetence. It is axiomatic, however, that they may only be deemed liable for medical malpractice if their negligent acts harm a person in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. In a recent case in which the plaintiff sued several neurosurgeons after he became paralyzed, a New York court explained what level of interaction is sufficient to establish a treating relationship. If you suffered nerve damage or other injuries because of a doctor’s careless acts, you should consult a dedicated Rochester neurosurgery malpractice attorney regarding your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who worked as a deckhand on a boat, was moving heavy equipment when he felt a pop in his neck. He was helped off the boat and taken to a medical facility, after which he was transported to the defendant hospital for an evaluation. He was assessed by a doctor in the emergency room, who then called the on-call neurologist and the on-call neurosurgeon, who advised that the plaintiff should be transferred to another hospital to undergo surgery.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was transferred and eventually underwent surgery to decompress his spinal cord, but he was nonetheless paralyzed. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous providers that treated him in connection with his injury, including the neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he did not have a doctor-patient relationship with the plaintiff and therefore, could not be held liable. The court disagreed and denied his motion.

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Typically, when a patient presents to a hospital with symptoms or complaints, he or she will consent to receive treatment from the attending physicians while retaining the right to leave if he or she chooses. In some instances, however, the hospital will take steps to admit a person without his or her consent, in an attempt to protect the person or others. In a recent hospital malpractice case, a New York court assessed when the involuntary commitment of an individual might constitute grounds for asserting a malpractice claim. If you suffered damages due to a hospital unjustly refusing to allow you to leave, you should meet with a skilled Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to analyze what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant hospital with complaints of high blood pressure. According to the facts set forth in the plaintiff’s complaint, after she arrived, she was restrained by security guards and administered medication. She was ultimately admitted against her will and detained for five days, during which she received medication for Parkinson’s disease and other ailments she did not have.

Allegedly, the plaintiff suffered substantial side effects due to the medications she received, which required her to obtain follow-up care. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that it violated her rights and committed medical malpractice by falsely imprisoning her. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted, resulting in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff then appealed, but on appeal, the dismissal of her claims was affirmed.

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Usually, when a plaintiff files a medical malpractice case in New York, he or she will ask that a jury assess liability and damages. In most cases, the jury will rule accurately. In cases in which the jury grossly misevaluates the evidence presented, however, the party that received an adverse ruling can ask the court to vacate the jury’s ruling. In a recent gynecologic malpractice case in which the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, a New York court discussed the grounds for setting aside a jury’s ruling. If you were injured during childbirth or a gynecologic procedure, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Rochester gynecologic malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

Factual History

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered a laceration while giving birth to her child. The defendant initially failed to diagnose the laceration, and once the laceration was assessed, she failed to repair it properly, which resulted in significant pain and complications. The plaintiff then sought damages from the defendant via a medical malpractice case. The case proceeded to trial and ultimately resulted in a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff for over one million dollars. The defendant then filed a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict as against the weight of the evidence. The court denied the motion, and the defendant filed an appeal.

Grounds for Vacating a Jury’s Verdict in a Medical Malpractice Case in New York

Under New York law, the question of what damages are appropriate in a medical malpractice case is within the jury’s domain, and whatever the jury decides will not be disturbed in most cases. Rather, a court will only vacate a jury’s ruling in cases in which a damages award demonstrates a substantial departure from what is considered reasonable compensation. The court may assess damages awarded in other cases involving similar injuries as a tool to provide guidance and enlightenment regarding whether a verdict constitutes reasonable compensation. The court may look at other factors as well, such as the nature and permanency of the injuries the plaintiff suffered.

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In many instances in which a patient is harmed by negligent medical care, more than one care provider will have provided the patient with inadequate treatment. Thus, it is not uncommon for multiple defendants that practice in different specialties to be named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. While the parties in a medical malpractice case generally need to retain medical experts to testify regarding the standard of care, one expert usually cannot offer an opinion as to multiple specialties. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which a mother and child both suffered injuries during the child’s birth. If you or your child sustained an injury during childbirth, it is advisable to consult an experienced Rochester birth injury attorney to discuss what evidence you must introduce to prove liability.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff mother was treated by the defendant gynecologist, who induced labor when the plaintiff was thirty-nine weeks pregnant. During the birth, the plaintiff mother and the plaintiff infant suffered unspecified injuries. Thus, the plaintiffs filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant gynecologist, as well as the hospital, anesthesiologist, and pediatrician, and orthopedic surgeon that participated in delivering the plaintiff infant and caring for both plaintiffs after the birth. The defendants moved to have the case dismissed via summary judgment, arguing they did not breach their respective standards of care. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Sufficiency of an Expert Affidavit in a Medical Malpractice Case in New York

On appeal, the plaintiff argued in part that the defendant’s expert affidavit regarding the care provided by the anesthesiologist, pediatrician, and orthopedic surgeon lacked probative value. The appellate court agreed and reversed the trial court’s order to the extent it dismissed those defendants. Specifically, the court noted that it was true that under New York law, an expert does not have to be a specialist in a certain field in order to be able to testify competently regarding the accepted practices in that field.

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In many instances, a doctor’s failure to conduct the tests needed to provide a patient with an accurate diagnosis constitutes medical malpractice. In some cases, however, even if a doctor’s diagnosis is delayed, the doctor may not be held liable for any harm suffered by the patient if the applicable standard of care does not require a doctor to consider all possible diagnoses. This was demonstrated in a recent New York pediatric malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to the plaintiff’s inability to show that the failure to diagnosis a rare condition constituted a breach of the standard of care. If your child suffered harm because of a delayed diagnosis, it is in your best interest to speak to a trusted Rochester pediatric malpractice attorney to assess what damages you may be owed.

The Child’s Alleged Harm

It is alleged that the defendant pediatrician examined the plaintiff-child in early November 2008 for an infection. The defendant prescribed the plaintiff-child antibiotics. The defendant saw the plaintiff-child again one day later, and five days later, when his condition seemed to be improving. Six days after the initial visit, however, the plaintiff-mother called the defendant and reported that the plaintiff-child had a fever, and had recently undergone dental work, after which the defendant advised the plaintiff-mother to take the plaintiff-child to the emergency room.

Reportedly, the plaintiff-child was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis, which required surgery to preserve his mitral valve function. The plaintiffs then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the plaintiff’s condition should have been diagnosed via an echocardiogram, but that one was not performed until ten days after the plaintiff’s initial visit. Following discovery, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, which the court ultimately granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

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