Articles Posted in Emergency Room Malpractice

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In New York, it is well established that a patient harmed by incompetent medical care must meet a specific burden of proof to recover damages. In other words, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must produce evidence that is sufficient to show that a doctor failed to comply with the accepted practice of medicine. The plaintiff also has to prove that the failure directly caused the plaintiff’s harm. Usually, this is accomplished via expert reports. Even if a plaintiff produces an affidavit from an expert, though, it still may not be sufficient to demonstrate liability. This was illustrated in a recent ruling in an emergency room malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed due to an inadequate expert report. If you suffered harm because of the neglectful care you received in an emergency room, it is smart to speak to a skillful Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney to assess your options.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the emergency department of the defendant hospital, where he was treated by the defendant doctors. The reason the decedent sought medical treatment was not disclosed, but he ultimately lost his life while at the hospital. The plaintiff then commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that their failure to provide the decedent with competent care led to his demise. The defendants moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed via summary judgment, and in support of their motion, produced an expert affidavit. The plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the defendants’ motion and set forth her own expert affidavit. The court found the plaintiff’s affidavit lacking and granted the defendants’ motion. The plaintiff then filed an appeal.

Conflicting Expert Reports in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court explained that a plaintiff in a medical malpractice action must produce proof that the defendant doctor deviated from the standards of practice that are accepted in the community and that the departure proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm. Therefore, a defendant moving for summary judgment must establish that the evidence, when taken at face value, does not show a departure from the standard of care or that any departure that occurred did not lead to the plaintiff’s losses.

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Typically, whether a medical provider is guilty of malpractice is an issue that is presented to the jury at trial. In cases in which liability, or the lack thereof, is clear, though, either party may ask the court for a directed verdict, to avoid the risk of the jury ruling improperly. A trial court judge, like a juror, is human, however, and can make errors in judgment, such as granting a directed verdict when the evidence does not clearly resolve disputed issues. This was illustrated in a recent emergency room malpractice case in New York in which the trial court’s directed verdict was overturned on appeal. If you were harmed by incompetent care rendered in an emergency room, it is advisable to meet with a trusted Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff presented to the emergency room of the defendant hospital complaining of difficulty hearing and dizziness. He was examined and discharged without a diagnosis. He later suffered profound hearing loss in his right ear. He then commenced a medical malpractice case against the defendant, arguing the failure of the emergency room doctors to recognize and diagnose his inner ear infection led to significant harm.

Allegedly, during the trial, the plaintiff set forth expert testimony stating that the emergency room doctors breached the standard of care by failing to realize that the plaintiff was suffering from a serious infection, and the breach led to the plaintiff’s harm. Following the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for a directed verdict. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint, after which the plaintiff appealed.

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In some instances in which a person presents to the emergency room, the source of the person’s symptoms may not be easily ascertainable, or more than one medical issue may be causing the person’s complaints. Thus, it is not uncommon for a person in the emergency room to be treated for multiple conditions. In cases in which a person suffering from numerous ailments sustains harm due to the negligent treatment of one ailment, the process of establishing liability can be complicated, as shown in a recent New York appellate ruling. If you were injured by inadequate care rendered in an emergency room, it is advisable to meet with a capable Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff presented to the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain. She was subsequently diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and a pelvic mass or ovarian cyst. She was admitted to the surgical department, where she underwent an appendectomy and an intraoperative gynecological consultation. The consultation revealed the plaintiff’s pelvic mass may be malignant, and she should be transferred to another hospital for treatment by an oncologist.

Reportedly, she was discharged, and a week later underwent exploratory surgery to remove her pelvic mass, during which it was determined she was suffering from ovarian torsion that required removal of her left ovary and fallopian tube. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant emergency room physician, surgeon, and hospital, arguing that they were negligent in diagnosing her appendicitis as an acute condition,  failing to obtain a gynecological consultation prior to performing the appendectomy, and failing to treat the pelvic mass at the time of the appendectomy. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court denied. The defendant surgeon appealed.

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In many instances in which a person has been harmed by medical malpractice, the harm occurs under circumstances that may be shocking to a layperson, causing anger and outrage. Thus, it is not uncommon for a defendant in a medical malpractice case to seek an order from the court prohibiting the parties from making statements to the public or media regarding the underlying facts of the case. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the purpose of an injunction prohibiting public discussion of a case and when such an injunction is warranted, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her husband’s death was caused by emergency room malpractice. If you suffered harm, or lost a loved one, due to malpractice committed by emergency room care providers it is advisable to speak with a capable Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney to discuss your case and your potential claims.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was shopping in a grocery store when he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was transported to the defendant hospital where he was taken to the code room of the emergency department and intubated. CPR, which the paramedics who transported the decedent had begun, was continued and a faint pulse was detected. The decedent was pronounced dead at 8:29 that evening. The plaintiff was notified of his death and she and other family members were taken into the code room.

It is alleged that the plaintiff observed the decedent breathing, making eye contact, and moving for the next two hours and forty minutes. Therefore, the plaintiff pleaded with the nursing staff and coroner to examine the decedent, which they declined to do. The decedent was eventually examined and found to be alive, after which he was transferred to another hospital. He underwent surgery but ultimately died. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to enjoin all parties from making public comments or speaking to the media regarding the facts of the case. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

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