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Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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It is not uncommon for a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case to pass away prior to the resolution of the case. A plaintiff’s claims are not extinguished merely because a plaintiff dies, however. Instead, the plaintiff’s estate generally has the right to pursue claims on behalf of the plaintiff’s beneficiaries and can substitute another party as the plaintiff. It is important for interested parties to act promptly following a plaintiff’s death, however, as a delay can result in a dismissal of the claims altogether, as demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case. If you or a loved one sustained injuries due to negligent care in a hospital, it is wise to speak to a trusted Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, in 2005 the plaintiff’s decedent, who had Stage IV lung cancer, was admitted to the defendant hospital after she fell out of her wheelchair and struck her head. During her admission she was administered an excessive amount of Dilaudid, which the plaintiff averred lead to the decedent’s death. In 2007, the plaintiff, who was the decedent’s husband and the administrator of her estate, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. In 2011, the case was marked disposed of due to the plaintiff’s failure to file a note of issue, and in 2013, the plaintiff died.

It is reported that in 2017, the plaintiff’s attorney advised the defendant’s attorney that the plaintiff died. The defendant then moved to dismiss the complaint due to the plaintiff’s failure to substitute a new plaintiff, and the plaintiff’s attorney filed a cross-motion to substitute the administrator of the plaintiff’s estate as the new plaintiff. The court granted the defendant’s motion and denied the plaintiff’s, after which the plaintiff appealed.

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It is not uncommon for a plaintiff harmed by negligent medical care to name multiple defendants or set forth more than one claim of medical malpractice. For example, a plaintiff may allege a defendant is liable for providing negligent care and for failing to obtain informed consent. Simply because a plaintiff has sufficient evidence to prove one claim does not mean he or she will be able to succeed on all claims, as demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a motion for summary judgment on a negligence claim against a hospital, but reversed with regard to a failure to obtain informed consent claim. If you sustained damages due to inadequate care you received in a hospital, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant hospital in February 2014 with multiple complaints. He ultimately died, after which his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant practitioner, alleging medical malpractice and failure to obtain informed consent. The defendants moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendants appealed.

Sufficient Evidence to Sustain Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court explained that a defendant in a medical malpractice case must establish the lack of any material issues of fact with respect to at least one of the elements of a medical malpractice claim. Specifically, the defendant must either demonstrate that there is no factual dispute as to whether the defendant departed from the applicable standard of care, or as to whether any alleged departure was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. If the defendant sets forth evidence that no factual dispute exists as to both elements, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that a triable issue of fact exists as to the deviation and to causation elements.

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If a patient is harmed by incompetent medical care provided in a hospital, the patient may not only be able to pursue claims against the negligent medical provider, but he or she may also be able to pursue claims against the hospital as well. Whether a hospital can be held liable for medical malpractice depends on the facts surrounding the patient’s harm and the relationship between the doctor and the medical provider, as discussed in a recent case decided by a court in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York. If you were harmed by insufficient care in a hospital, you should meet with a skillful Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to assess what claims you might be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited the emergency department of the defendant hospital in April 2009, with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain. He was admitted to the defendant hospital, where he was treated by the defendant physician, who was a volunteer. Subsequently, a cardiologist, who was not an employee of the hospital, performed a cardiac catheterization on the plaintiff. A few weeks after the procedure, the plaintiff visited a second hospital due to pain and bleeding in his groin. He was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis in his thigh and groin and underwent surgery to remove the necrotic tissue.

It is alleged that he then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging they negligently failed to diagnose and treat a hematoma in his groin in a timely manner, which led to necrosis. The defendants each filed a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the motions, and the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the court vacated the earlier orders and denied the defendants’ motions. The defendants then appealed.

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It is common for people experiencing acute or critical medical issues to visit a hospital for treatment. If the care provided in the hospital harms, rather than helps, a person, the person may seek damages against the care providers that provided the inadequate treatment. Additionally, in some cases, the injured person may be able to recover damages from the hospital as well. In a recent hospital malpractice case, a New York appellate court explained when a hospital may be liable for negligent care provided to a patient during his or her hospitalization. If you suffered harm due to incompetent care rendered in a hospital, you should consult a skillful Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims against the parties that caused your harm.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant physicians and hospital, arguing they deviated from the applicable standard of care, resulting in the death of the plaintiff’s decedent. The complaint alleged, in part, that the named defendant physicians were employees of the defendant hospital, and that they were acting within the scope of their employment when they harmed the decedent. After discovery was completed, the defendant hospital filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was not liable for the negligence of the individually named defendants. The court granted the motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

A Hospital’s Vicarious Liability for Malpractice

Under New York law, a hospital may be held vicariously liable for the negligence committed by its employees within the scope of their employment, pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior. A hospital will generally not be deemed responsible for the negligent acts or omissions of a private physician that is not an employee of the hospital, but is merely working there as an independent contractor, however. An exception to the general rule arises, though, in cases in which a patient visits the emergency department of a hospital, seeking treatment from the hospital and not a particular doctor, or in cases where the hospital exercised control over a doctor, or the doctor acted as an agent of the hospital.

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One of the key elements in any medical malpractice case is proximate cause. In other words, the injured party must prove not only that the care provider deviated from the appropriate standard, but also that the deviation caused the injured party’s harm. Causation is often difficult to prove in medical malpractice cases, and parties do not always agree as to what constitutes adequate proof. This was demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case in which the defendants appealed the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff as against the weight of the evidence, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prove the defendants caused her harm. If you were injured by negligent care rendered in a hospital, it is advisable to meet with a proficient Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital for the treatment of an acute asthma attack. During her admission, the plaintiff was treated by multiple physicians, including two attending physicians, a pulmonologist, and a nephrologist, all of whom were named as defendants. The plaintiff became hypercapnic during her admission and ultimately suffered permanent and severe brain damage. She subsequently filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendants. Following a trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff $90,000,000 for pain and suffering, as well as special damages. The defendants appealed, arguing that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.

Proximate Cause Under New York Law

Under New York law, a court will not disturb a jury’s verdict unless it is contrary to the weight of the evidence. In other words, if the jury’s conclusion does not comply with rational reasoning given the evidence produced at trial. As such, any verdict that is not completely irrational should not be disturbed. A judge evaluating whether a verdict is against the weight of the evidence must assess whether the verdict relies on a fair evaluation of the evidence, viewing the facts in a light most favorable to the plaintiff.

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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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It is not uncommon for a plaintiff who is pursuing damages due to medical malpractice to die following the institution of the lawsuit. Thus, in many cases, the need arises to substitute the administrator of the deceased plaintiff’s estate as a party in the lawsuit. Any substitution must be made in a timely manner, however, or the court may dismiss the claim in its entirety. In a recent hospital malpractice case, the appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York discussed the factors weighed in determining if an untimely motion to substitute should be granted. If you or someone you love suffered harm due to hospital malpractice, it is wise to consult a dedicated  Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiffs, a mother and infant son, filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital due to harm sustained by the plaintiff son. The plaintiff son subsequently died from his injuries, and the plaintiffs filed a motion to substitute the plaintiff son’s father, who was the administrator of the estate, as a plaintiff in place of the son, and to amend the caption. Further, the plaintiffs sought to amend the complaint to assert a wrongful death claim.

Reportedly, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s motion to substitute was untimely. The court granted the defendant’s motion and dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint in its entirety. The plaintiffs appealed.

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Hospitals, like doctors, are required to comply with a standard of care in treating patients. In many cases in which a hospital breaches the standard of care, a plaintiff will be able to assert both negligence and medical malpractice claims against the hospital. It is crucial for anyone who wishes to pursue a claim against a hospital to adequately plead any claim asserted, as an insufficient pleading can preclude the plaintiff from recovering damages. This was illustrated in a recent New York appellate court case, in which the court discussed what must be pleaded to establish general negligence versus medical negligence claims. If you or a loved one were injured due to inadequate care that was provided in a hospital, it is prudent to meet with a diligent Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding your right to seek damages.

Facts Regarding the Decedent’s Treatment

Reportedly, in August 2005, the plaintiff’s decedent was a patient at the defendant hospital, when he left his bed and began wandering the hallway in a confused state. He allegedly proceeded to hit members of the hospital staff, refused help, and subsequently suffered injuries. In August 2008, the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant hospital seeking damages due to the defendant’s negligence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the claims were precluded by the two and a half year statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice claims, as the claims alleged medical, rather than general, negligence. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

General Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice Claims

In assessing whether a claim sounds in general negligence or medical malpractice, the court must assess the nature of the duty owed to the plaintiff that the defendant allegedly breached. If the duty arises out of the patient-physician relationship or is substantially related to the plaintiff’s treatment, a breach establishes a cause of action for medical malpractice, not general negligence. In other words, whether a defendant’s breach constitutes medical malpractice or general negligence depends on whether the defendant’s alleged conduct involves medical science or skills not possessed by laypeople, or whether the defendant’s acts or omissions can be evaluated by an ordinary person.

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In medical malpractice cases, like all civil cases, hearsay testimony is inadmissible unless it falls under one of the enumerated exceptions. For example, under the business records exception to the hearsay rule, hospital records may be admissible in certain instances, despite the fact that they contain hearsay. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed when the business records exception to the rule against hearsay applies in hospital malpractice cases, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her husband died as a result of malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to hospital malpractice, it is vital to retain a proficient Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to aid you in asserting your right to seek damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Husband’s Treatment

It is reported that the plaintiff’s husband went to the emergency room of the defendant hospital on June 1, 2008, where he was evaluated and diagnosed with pneumonia. The record states that the emergency room physician offered the husband hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics and fluids. The husband was discharged with oral antibiotics that day, however, and directed to follow up with his primary care physician. The physician testified at trial that he informed the husband his condition was serious and stated the husband left against medical advice, but the husband was not asked to sign an AMA form.

Allegedly, on June 4, 2009, the husband visited his primary care physician. Following an evaluation, the physician sent the husband to the hospital. In the second hospital, the emergency room records noted that the husband’s primary care physician stated that the husband signed an AMA form at the first hospital. Additionally, it stated that the husband advised the attending physician that he refused treatment at the first hospital and was subsequently discharged.

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Although most medical malpractice cases allege that the defendant medical care provider’s breach of the standard of care was due to negligence, rather than an intentional act, there are key differences between an ordinary negligence claim and a medical malpractice claim. The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, recently distinguished between negligence and medical malpractice claims in a case in which the plaintiff alleged a hospital’s negligence caused her to sustain harm following a surgery. If your health was harmed by hospital malpractice it is essential to retain an experienced Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing claims against anyone responsible for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure at the defendant hospital. Following the surgery, the plaintiff experienced substantial memory loss and threatened to leave the hospital several times. Due to her symptoms and a recommendation from her psychiatrist, the plaintiff spent a portion of her stay in the hospital in a cluster room or under one-on-one supervision. The plaintiff left the hospital and was found five days later with numerous injuries.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital, alleging that the hospital negligently failed to provide her with appropriate supervision and care. The defendant moved to compel the plaintiff to produce a certificate of merit, arguing that her claims sounded in malpractice. The plaintiff opposed the motion and moved for leave to amend her complaint. The court granted the defendant’s motion and granted the plaintiff leave to amend, to the extent she intended to add a claim for malpractice. The plaintiff appealed.

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