Articles Posted in Cardiology Malpractice

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Few medical malpractice cases are actually tried to a verdict. Some settle before they reach the trial stage, while others are decided via summary judgment. In other words, parties will often try to get the court to rule in their favor as a matter of law once discovery is complete. Obtaining a summary judgment ruling can be difficult, however, as often the evidence demonstrates that there are factual disputes. Recently, a New York court set forth a ruling describing the grounds for granting summary judgment in a malpractice case, in a matter in which the plaintiff filed claims against his cardiologist. If you were hurt by a negligent heart doctor, it is prudent to meet with a Rochester cardiology malpractice lawyer to evaluate your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging he committed medical malpractice by failing to diagnose his infectious endocarditis, which in turn allowed vegetation to develop on his aortic valve, leading to an embolism and stroke. After discovery was completed, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that he departed from the standard of care or that any departure caused the plaintiff’s harm. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Claims

In order to demonstrate that a physician should be held liable for medical malpractice, a plaintiff must show that the physician departed from the standard of care imposed on providers in the community and that such a departure proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. As such, a defendant moving for dismissal via summary judgment must show that there are no material factual disputes. Continue reading

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In New York medical malpractice cases, the burden moves from the plaintiff to the defendant and then returns to the plaintiff. In other words,  case law established that if the defendant set forth prima facie evidence showing it was entitled to a dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim, the plaintiff was required to refute the defendant’s arguments by showing that the defendant deviated from the standard of care and that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm. Recently, however, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, New York, analyzed the burden imposed on a plaintiff asserting medical malpractice claims and found it to be improper, in a case alleging cardiology malpractice. If you were injured by inadequate care rendered by a cardiologist, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent underwent heart surgery performed by the defendant cardiologist and received post-surgical care from the other named defendants. Following the decedent’s death, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were granted in part and denied in part. The defendants whose motions were denied appealed.

Shifting Burdens in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court noted that the case provided a good opportunity for the court to review whether the burden-shifting standard applied in medical malpractice cases was appropriate. The court stated that it was well-established that a defendant seeking dismissal via summary judgment in a medical malpractice case bears the burden of proving that he or she did not depart from the applicable standard of care, or that any departure did not harm the plaintiff. If the defendant meets this burden, however, the plaintiff must show both that the defendant deviated from the standard of care and that the deviation caused the plaintiff’s harm.

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Summary judgment is a harsh remedy that is only to be used in the clearest cases. Thus, even if a defendant in a medical malpractice case establishes a prima facie right to judgment as a matter of law, the claims against the defendant will not be dismissed if the plaintiff establishes that there is a question of fact as to whether the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm. A New York court recently analyzed what evidence is sufficient for each party to meet their burden of proof in a cardiology malpractice claim. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent cardiac care, you should meet with a proficient Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to establish liability.

Facts Concerning the Plaintiff’s Decedent’s Health

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent died of a heart attack while he was at work. It was later revealed the heart attack was due to congestive heart failure, which was caused by hypertension and arteriosclerotic heart disease. Less than two weeks prior to the decedent’s death, he reportedly visited his primary care physician, who referred him to the defendant cardiologist due to abnormal lab results.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a wrongful death and medical malpractice claim against the defendant, arguing the defendant failed to properly address the decedent’s abnormal test results and cardiac risk factors. After the completion of discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.

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If a cardiologist provides negligent care that causes a person harm, the person can pursue a claim against the cardiologist for damages. As with any civil claim, there are deadlines that apply to a person pursuing a cardiology malpractice claim, and the failure to abide by the deadlines can result in a waiver of the right to recover damages, regardless of the severity of the harm sustained. In some cases, however, the statute of limitations can be tolled if the injured patient continues to treat with the cardiologist after the date of the alleged harm.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed the tolling of the statute of limitations under the continuous treatment doctrine in a case in which it affirmed the dismissal of a cardiology malpractice claim as time barred. If you suffered harm because of negligent cardiac care, it is imperative to consult a skillful Rochester cardiology malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff was suffering from end stage kidney disease and kidney failure and was on the list for a kidney transplant. In October 2015, he presented to the defendant medical center for a pre-transplant examination. During the examination he underwent a chest x-ray that revealed pericardial effusion. The plaintiff subsequently underwent a pericardiocentesis to drain the fluid around his heart. During the procedure, the plaintiff’s heart was punctured, and he was required to undergo an emergency sternotomy to repair his left ventricle.

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