Articles Posted in Hospital Malpractice

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In medical malpractice cases in New York, the plaintiff generally decides where the action will be heard, as the plaintiff is the party filing the lawsuit. A defendant has the right to seek a change of venue, however, if the County the plaintiff chose to file his or her lawsuit is not an appropriate place for the matter to be heard. The grounds for granting a motion for change of venue were recently discussed by a New York appellate court in a hospital malpractice case that was originally filed in Bronx County. If you were injured by negligent care in a hospital, it is prudent to speak to an assertive Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to a hospital in Newburgh and then transferred to a hospital in the Bronx, where she died. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in Bronx County against the defendants, alleging that the venue was based on the defendant’s business address. The complaint further alleged that the defendants operated a healthcare facility that served customers in the Bronx. The defendants filed a motion for change of venue, claiming that none of the parties resided in the Bronx. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that venue was proper because a large portion of the events that lead to the decedent’s death occurred in the Bronx. The court found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendants appealed. On appeal, the appellate court reversed and moved the action to Orange County.

Grounds for Changing Venue in a New York Case

Under New York law, a party seeking a change of venue must not only demonstrate that the plaintiff’s choice of venue is improper, but also that the defendant’s choice of venue is appropriate. If a defendant meets this burden, the plaintiff must demonstrate that his or her chosen venue was proper. Further, the procedural rules provide that except when otherwise stated by law, an action must be tried in the County where one of the parties resided when the action commenced or where a substantial portion of the events that gave rise to the action occurred.

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When a plaintiff harmed by medical negligence pursues claims for damages via a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff’s compliance with the laws of procedure is arguably almost as important as the merits of the plaintiff’s case. In other words, if a plaintiff fails to abide by the rules imposed by the law or the courts, it can result in a dismissal of otherwise valid claims. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed what a plaintiff seeking to vacate an order dismissing a hospital malpractice case due to the failure comply with procedural rules must demonstrate in order to obtain a favorable result. If you or a loved one sustained damages due to incompetent care in a hospital, it is advisable to consult a capable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to assert a claim for damages.

Facts and Procedure of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent died from sepsis after she was released from the defendant hospital. Thus, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant hospital and the defendant treating physician who cared for the decedent while she was admitted to the defendant hospital. After discovery was complete, the defendants each moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment. The court then issued an order setting forth when the plaintiff was required to serve her opposition to the motions upon the defendants, when the defendants were required to file any replies, and when oral argument would be held.

Reportedly, however, the parties stipulated that the plaintiff’s opposition could be filed at a later date. As such, the plaintiff did not file her opposition by the court-imposed deadline. The plaintiff did not seek an adjournment in person until the day the defendants’ replies were due, but the court denied her request and granted the defendants’ motions as unopposed. Subsequently, the plaintiff filed a motion to vacate the order granting the defendants’ motions. The court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

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In many instances in which a person harmed by negligent medical care pursues damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit, the defendant healthcare provider will attempt to refute liability by arguing that the person’s harm was not proximately caused by the defendant’s acts. In such cases, if the plaintiff does not produce sufficient evidence to refute the defendant’s position, the plaintiff’s case may be dismissed. This was demonstrated in a recent hospital malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case via summary judgment. If you or a family member suffered harm due as a result of negligent care rendered in a  hospital, it is in your best interest to speak with a proficient Rochester hospital malpractice attorney regarding what you must prove to recover damages.

Factual Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the defendant hospital for treatment. The decedent developed a sacral ulcer, which did not heal. Following the decedent’s death, the plaintiff instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant departed from the applicable standard of care in treating the decedent’s sacral ulcer, thereby causing the decedent to suffer harm. The defendant moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment, but the trial court denied the defendant’s motion. The defendant subsequently appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court overturned the trial court ruling, dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

Avoiding Dismissal Via Summary Judgment in a Hospital Malpractice Case

On appeal, the appellate court noted that the defendant set forth a prima facie case that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law, as required to obtain a dismissal via summary judgment. Specifically, the defendant produced an affirmation from a medical expert that stated that the defendant’s treatment of the plaintiff’s decedent’s sacral ulcer comported with accepted and good practice. Further, the affirmation stated that the failure of the plaintiff’s decedent’s ulcer to heal was caused by the decedent’s pre-existing conditions, rather than any acts or omissions on behalf of the defendant.

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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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