Articles Posted in Gynecologic Malpractice

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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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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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Losing a child due to medical malpractice can cause great emotional trauma. In some cases, though, despite the grave emotional harm suffered by a parent that loses a child due to incompetent medical care, a parent cannot recover damages for emotional distress, as demonstrated in a recent obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice case in New York. If you suffered the loss of a child or your child suffered an injury at birth due to negligent medical care, you should speak to a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual History

It is alleged that the plaintiff presented to a hospital with high blood pressure when she was twenty-six weeks pregnant. She was treated by two obstetrician-gynecologists while at the hospital. Two days after she was admitted to the hospital, she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and transferred to the second hospital. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice claim against both hospitals and the two obstetrician-gynecologists that treated her, alleging their incompetent treatment caused her to deliver a stillborn child. As part of her claim, the plaintiff sought damages for emotional distress. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment as to the emotional distress claims, arguing that the plaintiff could not recover such damages because her child had been born alive. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions, and the plaintiff appealed.

Damages for Emotional Distress in Medical Malpractice Claims in New York

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The appellate court noted that, under New York law, a mother could not recover compensation for emotional distress for alleged malpractice that causes an injury to a fetus in utero, if the fetus is ultimately born alive. The appellate court further explained that a live birth is defined as a complete extraction or expulsion of a child from its mother, where after the separation from the mother, the child breathes, has a heartbeat, or shows any other evidence of life, regardless of the duration of the pregnancy.

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In a medical malpractice case, whether the plaintiff’s claims are ultimately successful depends on numerous factors, including whether the plaintiff complies with the rules of procedure. In other words, even if a plaintiff has a meritorious claim, if he or she does not move his or her case along in a reasonable fashion as required under New York law, the plaintiff’s claim may be dismissed, despite the fact that the defendant may have caused the plaintiff’s harm. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which a woman sought damages for harm caused by a gynecologist, but failed to take any action in the case for over a year. If you were harmed by incompetent gynecological care, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Rochester gynecologic medical malpractice attorney to analyze whether you may be able to recover damages.

Factual and Procedural History

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the defendant fertility clinic for an egg donation procedure. Prior to the procedure, the defendant’s employees administered an excessive amount of medication to the plaintiff, which resulted in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and multiple ovarian cysts. As such, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant. The plaintiff filed her lawsuit in April 2015, and in September 2015, the plaintiff joined the issue, and the defendant served the plaintiff with demands for a bill of particulars, discovery requests, and a deposition notice. The plaintiff failed to respond, however, and until July 2017, when she served the defendant with discovery responses and a bill of particulars.

Reportedly, the defendant then sent the plaintiff another deposition notice. Depositions were never conducted or scheduled, however, and no other developments occurred in the case. As such, in 2020, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint for lack of prosecution.

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While the jury system is an essential part of jurisprudence in our country, it is not perfect, and juries do not always rule properly. Thus, a party that believes a jury verdict is improper can either seek a new trial or a new verdict. Recently, in a gynecologic malpractice case, a New York appellate court discussed the standards for determining if a new trial is warranted in a case in which the defendant alleged the jury’s verdict was improper.  If you sustained harm because of incompetent care rendered by a gynecologist, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned Rochester gynecological malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you could possibly pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff reported to the defendant gynecologist with complaints of abdominal pain. An examination revealed that the plaintiff had a mass in her uterus, after which the defendant recommended that the plaintiff undergo a dilation and curettage procedure to remove the mass. The defendant performed the procedure in his office, but during the procedure, he punctured the plaintiff’s bowel and uterus. The plaintiff then commenced a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Following a trial, a jury found in favor of the plaintiff and awarded her $400,000 for future pain and suffering for a period of five years. The defendant filed a motion to set aside the verdict, arguing that the damages for pain and suffering were against the weight of the evidence. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed.

Setting Aside a Verdict Under New York Law

Pursuant to New York law, a motion asking the court to set aside a verdict and seeking a new trial in the interest of justice encompasses errors in a trial court’s ruling on issues such as surprise, newly discovered evidence, and the admissibility of evidence. In evaluating a motion to set aside a verdict, a court must determine whether the verdict is substantially fair or whether it had been affected, using his or her common sense, experience, and sense of fairness rather than precedent.

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Many surgical procedures have potential side effects, some of which may be life-altering. Thus, before a patient commits to undergo a surgical procedure, the physician performing the procedure must advise the patient of the known risks of harm, so that the patient can make an informed decision as to whether he or she wants to proceed with the surgery. Thus, if a doctor fails to properly advise a plaintiff of a known risk of harm associated with a procedure, the doctor may be liable for malpractice. This was discussed by a New York appellate court case in which the plaintiff suffered urinary incontinence following a hysterectomy. If you suffered harm due to a negligent gynecologist, it is wise to consult a proficient Rochester gynecology malpractice attorney regarding your potential damages.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent a vaginal hysterectomy that was performed by the defendant. Following the hysterectomy, she began to experience urinary incontinence. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the surgery was unnecessary and that the defendant failed to obtain her informed consent prior to performing the surgery. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which was denied by the court. The defendant subsequently appealed, but upon review, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Medical Malpractice Arising Out of Lack of Informed Consent

In its analysis, the court noted that the defendant made a prima facie showing that he was entitled to dismissal of the claims against him as a matter of law, by producing an expert report that stated that the plaintiff’s urinary incontinence was a consequence of chronic interstitial cystitis, which the plaintiff was diagnosed with following the procedure. The court noted, however, that in opposition to the defendant’s report, the plaintiff set forth an expert report opining that urinary incontinence was a well-known consequence of vaginal hysterectomies and that the plaintiff’s symptoms began shortly after the procedure.

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When a person is harmed by negligent medical care, in many cases, there will be more than one party responsible for the harm. For example, a person who sustained injuries due to incompetent treatment in a hospital may be able to pursue claims against not only the treating physicians but also against the hospital. As shown in a recent New York appellate court case, however, while a hospital may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employees, it is not always clear whether liability rests with a hospital or another entity. If you were injured by insufficient care in a hospital, it is prudent to consult a trusted Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to establish liability.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff treated at the defendant hospital while she was pregnant and subsequently filed a malpractice claim against the defendant hospital and the defendant obstetrics practice following the premature birth of her son. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant hospital deviated from the standard of care by negligently performing a vaginal ultrasound despite the fact that the plaintiff had been diagnosed with placenta previa, and in failing to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to performing the ultrasound.

Additionally, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s negligence caused her placenta to hemorrhage, which caused her son to be born prematurely, and to suffer brain damage and significant developmental delays. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims except for those premised on a theory of vicarious liability. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Many pregnant women treat with ob-gyns throughout their pregnancy, to monitor both their health and the health of their unborn child. As part of this care, ob-gyns routinely perform ultrasounds, to scan for abnormalities. In a recent case arising out of the death of a pregnant woman due to complications following a third-trimester abortion, the court analyzed whether a plaintiff should be granted leave to amend a complaint in response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to ob-gyn malpractice it is crucial to retain a Rochester ob-gyn malpractice attorney adept at helping injured parties seek compensation for their harm.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant ob-gyn for an ultrasound when she was 20 weeks pregnant. During the ultrasound, an anatomy scan was performed. The defendant determined the results of the scan were normal, but noted some asymmetry, and recommended a repeat scan. A second scan was performed eight weeks later, during which it was noted that the fetus had severe abnormalities. An MRI was subsequently conducted, after which it was noted that the fetus had a poor prognosis. The decedent then underwent counseling after which she elected to terminate her pregnancy.

Allegedly, a week after the MRI the decedent underwent a procedure to terminate the pregnancy, which took four days. The day after the decedent was discharged her condition deteriorated. She died the following day. Following an autopsy, it was determined that her cause of death was disseminated intravascular coagulation caused by an amniotic fluid embolus following the termination of her pregnancy.

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As gynecologic malpractice cases involve complex facts and issues that are typically beyond the understanding of the average person, most medical malpractice cases rely on experts to prove liability. In some cases, however, gynecologic malpractice is so clear that expert opinions may not be necessary. Rather, the plaintiff will rely on the evidentiary rule of res ipsa loquitor, which means the thing speaks for itself. A New York court recently discussed res ipsa loquitor in a gynecologic malpractice case and explained what is needed to prove the defendant is liable under res ipsa loquitor. If you were harmed by gynecologic malpractice you should consult an experienced Rochester gynecologic malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and what evidence you may need to recover.

Factual Scenario

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent a hysterectomy, which was performed by the defendants. Approximately five months after the surgery, she underwent an MRI that revealed a cystic collection in her abdomen. She then underwent a procedure to drain the collection, which revealed that it was likely there was a surgical lap pad in her abdomen. As such, the plaintiff underwent surgery to remove the lap pad that was likely left behind during her initial surgery. The plaintiff subsequently filed a medical malpractice action alleging the facts required the application of Res Ipsa Loquitor

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Res ipsa loquitor is an evidentiary rule that allows the judge or jury to infer negligence based solely on the occurrence of an unusual event. Res ipsa loquitor arises often in medical malpractice cases where it is hard to prove causation. For res ipsa loquitor to apply the plaintiff must show that what happened is not an event that typically happens without negligence, the instrumentality that caused the harm was exclusively controlled by the defendant, and the plaintiff did not contribute to his or her own harm.

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