Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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Many hospitals throughout New York engage staffing companies to provide physicians to offer medical services to their patients. In other words, many of the doctors who work at such hospitals are considered independent contractors rather than employees. While hospitals may be deemed vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees, they generally will not be held responsible for the incompetence of independent contractors that work for them. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, as discussed in a recent New York opinion set forth in a hospital malpractice case. If you sustained injuries due to a careless physician working in a hospital, it is in your best interest to confer with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant hospital with complaints of pain in his lower hip and back. He was seen by a nurse practitioner, who ordered a urine culture, a urine dipstick, and an abdominal x-ray. He was discharged with a diagnosis of acute cystitis and prescribed an antibiotic. Four days later, when the results of his urine culture were negative, he was advised to discontinue the medication. The defendant doctor, who was an independent contractor retained by the defendant staffing company, signed off on the documentation regarding the plaintiff’s care.

It is reported that three days later, the plaintiff began experiencing changes in his mental status. He was subsequently diagnosed with bacterial meningitis at another hospital and remained hospitalized until mid-April. He subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging, in part, that the defendant hospital was vicariously liable for the harm caused by the defendant doctor and the defendant staffing company. The plaintiff then moved for summary judgment. Continue reading

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread harm, and many people who contract the virus suffer incomprehensible losses. While there are numerous federal laws that protect health care providers from liability for COVID-19 related treatment of patients, they do not altogether preclude injured parties from pursuing medical malpractice claims. Nor do they require that such claims must be pursued in federal courts, as discussed in a recent New York opinion. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent care in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is smart to consult a Rochester hospital malpractice lawyer to assess your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s wife was a patient at the defendant hospital in the Spring of 2020. During her admission, she was not tested for COVID-19, even though one of her doctors requested that she be tested. She subsequently suffered a pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, and clotting, which ultimately caused her to suffer permanent brain damage and paralysis. The plaintiff, acting as his wife’s guardian, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging in part that it was grossly negligent for recklessly failing to test her for COVID-19 or diagnose and treat her pulmonary embolism in a timely manner. The defendant moved the case to federal court on the basis of federal preemption under the PREP Act. The plaintiff then filed a motion asking the court to remand the case back to state court.

Preemption of State Law Claims by the PREP Act

The court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff and remanded the matter back to state court. The court noted that the PREP Act, which was enacted in 2005, grants frontline healthcare workers immunity from liability during public health crises. Specifically, the Act provides that covered people are immune from liability with respect to claims or losses arising out of the administration of a covered countermeasure if the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a declaration with regard to such countermeasure. The PREP Act expressly preempts state laws that conflict with its provisions. Continue reading

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Federal law does not require parties pursuing medical malpractice claims to include evidence in their initial pleadings. It does, however, require them to set forth factual assertions that are sufficient to inform defendants of the claims against them so that they may properly prepare defenses. Plaintiffs that fail to meet this burden may face the dismissal of their claims. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in which the court terminated the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims due to the vagueness of her allegations. If you were injured while being treated in a hospital, it is smart to meet with a Rochester hospital malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant doctor due to a neck injury. The complaint sounded in medical malpractice, alleging the defendants failed to provide the plaintiff with x-rays and caused her pain and suffering. The complaint alluded to paralysis and included other indiscernible allegations. The defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that it failed to comply with the pleading standards established by the federal rules of civil procedure. The court agreed and granted the motion.

Pleading Standards in Medical Malpractice Claims

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 establishes the requirements for stating claims. In other words, a pleading setting forth a claim for relief must contain a statement of the basis for the court’s jurisdiction, a plain and short statement of the claim demonstrating that the pleader should be granted relief, and a demand for the relief sought. Continue reading

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Generally, a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove not only that the defendant was negligent but also that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s harm. In other words, simply demonstrating that the defendant deviated from the applicable standard of care is not sufficient to present a successful malpractice case. This was illustrated by a recent New York ruling issued in a hospital malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s claims were dismissed due to her inability to prove causation. If you suffered losses due to inadequate care in a hospital setting, it is prudent to confer with a Rochester hospital malpractice lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

Allegedly, the decedent visited a hospital with complaints of chest pain. He was admitted and discharged after three days, with the direction to visit an emergency department if his chest pain returned or worsened. Thirteen days later, he visited a second hospital with complaints of chest pain. He was evaluated by the defendant physician but the defendant did not order a cardiology consultation. The defendant decided to send the decedent home rather than admit him to the hospital. Approximately three weeks later, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died shortly thereafter.

It is reported that the plaintiff, the decedent’s wife, filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that she was negligent in failing to order a cardiology consultation, and her negligence caused the decedent’s death. A jury ultimately found that while the defendant departed from the standard of care, her negligence was not the cause of the decedent’s death. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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Medical malpractice lawsuits often are reduced to a battle between the experts. In other words, whether a defendant is deemed liable for medical negligence typically depends on which expert’s testimony the judge or jury finds more compelling. In some instances, however, the parties are denied the chance to present their expert opinions to the jury, as their cases are dismissed via summary judgment.

As a persuasive expert report is necessary to obtain a favorable outcome, it is also required to survive a defendant’s motion for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims, and where a plaintiff’s expert report demonstrates there are factual issues that must be resolved via a trial a court will deny a motion for summary judgment. This was explained in a recent New York opinion in a case arising out of hospital malpractice. If you sustained injuries due to negligent care rendered in a hospital, it is smart to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to determine what damages you may be able to recover.

History of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent underwent surgery at the defendant hospital. During the procedure, a doctor that worked for the defendant catheterized the decedent. At some point during his admission, a nurse employed an improper method to change the catheter, causing the decedent to suffer harm to his prostate and urethra, which led to hemorrhaging and other damages. Continue reading

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Most forms of treatment, including surgical procedures, carry some degree of risk. As such, a doctor must advise a patient of the potential adverse consequences of a treatment prior to administering it so that the plaintiff can make an intelligent and informed decision as to whether to proceed. If a doctor fails to do so, and a patient suffers harm because of the care provided, the physician may be liable for the failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent. In a recent New York opinion, the court explained the burden of proof of each party in an informed consent claim in a case in which the plaintiff alleged that his urologist committed malpractice. If you were harmed by a negligent urologist, it is advisable to meet with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff was referred to the defendant urologist due to an elevated level of prostate-specific antigen. The defendant recommended that the plaintiff undergo a biopsy of his prostate, to which the plaintiff agreed. After the procedure, the plaintiff began bleeding from his rectum. He notified the defendant, who advised the bleeding was normal.

Allegedly, the bleeding would not subside, and the plaintiff was transported to the hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to repair a laceration caused by the biopsy and was given a blood transfusion. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims. After the completion of discovery, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. Continue reading

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Typically, people who hit their heads in car collisions will go to a hospital, which in many instances will result in a diagnosis of a traumatic brain injury. If the doctors in a hospital failed to conduct the appropriate tests, though, it can result in a missed diagnosis, which tragically can lead to permanent harm. People who suffer lifelong injuries due to hospital malpractice are often owed substantial damages, but liability may be disputed by the hospital, regardless of what the jury finds. Recently, a New York court discussed the grounds for setting aside a verdict in a case in which the plaintiff suffered irreparable brain damage due to the hospital’s negligence. If you were hurt by incompetent care in a hospital, you could be owed significant damages, and it is advisable to meet with a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant’s hospital following a car accident. He underwent a CT scan of the brain that showed a hematoma but no acute bleeding. A few weeks later, an MRI was conducted to rule out a diffuse axonal injury, but the scan was incomplete because the plaintiff moved. No further testing was conducted at that time. Three weeks later, the defendant was unable to move to the edge of the bed at a physical therapy session, and the following morning he had slurred speech, lethargy, and could not follow commands.

Allegedly, a CT scan revealed an acute hematoma that required emergency surgery. Following the surgery, he had permanent cognitive injuries and was unable to care for himself. A medical negligence lawsuit was instituted on his behalf against the hospital. A jury trial was held, resulting in a verdict of approximately $22 million. The defendant moved to set aside the verdict due to the alleged misconduct of the plaintiff’s attorney during closing statements. The trial court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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People harmed by incompetent medical care often pursue damages via malpractice claims, but not all harm suffered by patients necessarily constitutes grounds for a lawsuit. To avoid frivolous cases, plaintiffs must meet certain pleading requirements to establish the validity of their claims, and if they do not, their cases may be adversely impacted. The potential consequences of failing to abide by procedural rules were demonstrated in a recent New York ruling in a hospital malpractice case in which the court ultimately permitted the plaintiff to proceed despite pleading errors. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to negligent care in a hospital, it is in your best interest to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney about your options.

The Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent, who had a history of mental illness, climbed to the edge of the roof of his building with the intent of ending his life via suicide. Police officers encouraged him to come down and transported him to the defendant hospital. He was discharged the following day, and one day after that, he died due to suicide. The plaintiff, the decedent’s mother, filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing their negligent failure to treat the decedent led to his death.

Allegedly, instead of attaching a certificate of merit to the complaint as required under the New York rules of procedure, the plaintiff’s attorney filed a certificate of counsel stating he was unable to consult a doctor prior to filing a complaint. The plaintiff then failed to file a certificate of merit within 90 days but moved to seek to leave to file a late notice of a claim two years later, at which point the defendant filed a motion to dismiss. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed. Continue reading

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Typically, when a patient seeks treatment in a hospital, the doctors and nurses that provide the patient with care will be employed by the hospital. Thus, if they perform their duties improperly, the hospital may be deemed vicariously liable for their acts. In some instances, however, medical staff members working in a hospital are independent contractors, not employees, and the question of whether a hospital can be held accountable for their incompetence becomes more complicated. The imposition of vicarious liability on a hospital for the acts of an independent contractor was the subject of a recent opinion issued by a New York court. If you were injured by an incompetent medical provider while you were in a hospital, it is advisable to consult a Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to assess your possible claims.

The Patient’s Care and Subsequent Claims

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent sought admission to the defendant hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and treatment, as he was experiencing suicidal ideation. The defendant physician treated the plaintiff’s decedent throughout the course of his admission. Tragically, however, he died by suicide while he was still receiving inpatient care.

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was the wife of the decedent, filed medical malpractice claims against the defendants, alleging their failure to provide proper care led to the decedent’s untimely death. The defendant hospital filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing in part that it could not be deemed vicariously liable for the acts of the defendant doctor because he was an independent contractor. The court denied the defendant hospital’s motion, and it appealed.

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Medical malpractice claims in New York must be filed within the statute of limitations; otherwise, the plaintiff’s claim may be dismissed. In cases in which the plaintiff has an ongoing treatment relationship with the defendant, though, the statute of limitations may be tolled pursuant to the continuous treatment doctrine. The parameters of the doctrine were discussed in a recent hospital malpractice case in New York in which the defendant argued the plaintiff’s claims were barred as untimely. If you suffered harm due to a healthcare provider’s failure to provide you with adequate care in a hospital setting, it is in your best interest to speak with a practiced Rochester hospital malpractice attorney as soon as possible to avoid waiving your right to pursue damages.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent presented to the defendant hospital in October 2007 for a bilateral screening mammogram. She was advised that the test did not reveal any abnormalities. She then returned to the defendant hospital in January 2008 with reports of a painful lump in her left breast. One month later, the plaintiff’s decedent underwent a biopsy of the mass at the defendant hospital, and it was revealed that she had breast cancer. She continued to undergo treatment at the defendant hospital until her death due to cancer in November 2008.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death case against the defendant, alleging the failure to properly read the decedent’s initial mammogram caused a delay in her cancer diagnosis. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to serve the defendant, which was a municipal corporation, with timely notice pursuant to New York law. The court agreed, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims, after which the plaintiff appealed.

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