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Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

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Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people injured by negligent medical care to pass away while their claims against the practitioners that caused their harm are pending. Under New York law, however, their estates can proceed with their claims, provided they comply with the rules of procedure. If they do not, their right to recover damages may be waived, as demonstrated in a recent ruling issued in a New York medical malpractice case.  If you lost a loved one because of the incompetence of a doctor, you should speak to a  Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to discuss what claims you may be able to pursue.

History of the Case

It is reported that the decedent went into cardiac arrest during an intubation procedure performed by the defendant in 2010. The plaintiffs, the decedent’s co-guardians, commenced a medical malpractice action against the defendant in 2012. In 2013, due to the decedent’s death, the court imposed a stay. The decedent’s mother, one of the plaintiffs, sought and obtained voluntary administration of the decedent’s estate and letters testamentary.

Allegedly, in 2017, the plaintiffs filed a motion asking the court to lift the stay and to substitute the decedent’s mother, as the administrator of the decedent’s estate, as the plaintiff and for leave to file an amended complaint in which they would assert a wrongful death claim. In response, the defendant moved to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to move for substitution in a timely manner. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion and granted the defendant’s, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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Parties in medical malpractice cases typically ask juries to weigh the evidence presented at trial and issue a verdict based on that evidence. Parties do not always agree with the jury’s reasoning, though, and if they believe that the jury ruled improvidently, they can ask the court to set aside the verdict. As explained in a recent opinion delivered in a New York medical malpractice case, however, the court will only vacate a jury’s verdict if it is clear that it does not comply with the evidence presented. If you suffered losses due to negligent care rendered by a medical professional, it is smart to meet with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your options for seeking damages.

Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was admitted to the defendant hospital in 2009. A CT scan of the chest showed a large mass, and a biopsy confirmed that it was lymphoma. She subsequently began chemotherapy treatment through a mediport in her chest. During the administration of the chemotherapy, she complained of burning, and the treatment was discontinued.

Reportedly, it was later found that the needle had become displaced, causing the medication to infuse into the tissue surrounding the mediport and injuring the plaintiff. The plaintiff later filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. A trial was held, which resulted in a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff and an award of damages for suffering and pain. The defendant filed a motion asking the court to set aside the verdict. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed. Continue reading

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The majority of medical malpractice cases are pursued at the state court level. Some defendants, though, prefer to litigate claims before federal courts and will move a case filed in state court to a federal district court. Federal courts have limited jurisdiction, though, and if the removal of a medical malpractice case is improper, it will be remanded back to the state level. Recently, a New York court discussed when it is appropriate to remand a medical malpractice case back to state court in a matter in which it granted the plaintiff’s motion. If you were harmed by inadequate medical care, it is in your best interest to have a discussion with a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer concerning your options for seeking justice.

Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the decedent lived in the defendant’s nursing home as a resident. In May 2021, she passed away after contracting COVID-19. The plaintiff then filed a case against the defendant asserting medical and nursing malpractice, wrongful death, and numerous other claims. The basis for the plaintiff’s claims was the defendant’s alleged failure to take necessary precautions during the pandemic, which ultimately led to her mother’s death.

Allegedly, the defendant removed the case to federal court, arguing that such removal was appropriate because the defendant acted at the direction of multiple federal agencies when responding to the pandemic and because federal question jurisdiction existed under the PREP (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness) Act. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to dismiss. The plaintiff filed a motion to remand the matter to state court. Continue reading

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Most New York medical malpractice cases are filed in state court. In some instances, though, a defendant will move a case to federal court. Federal courts can only hear certain cases, however, and if a court founds that it lacks jurisdiction over a matter, it will remand the case back to the state level. This was illustrated recently in a New York ruling issued in a medical malpractice case in which the court remanded the matter due to its lack of subject matter jurisdiction. If you were hurt by the carelessness of a healthcare provider, it is in your best interest to talk to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney about your options for pursuing damages.

Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent was a resident of the defendant’s nursing home for two months in 2020. Toward the end of her residency, her condition declined, and she was diagnosed with COVID-19; she died later that same day. The plaintiff, the administrator of the defendant’s estate, subsequently filed a medical malpractice case against the defendant in state court, alleging, among other things, that the decedent died due to the defendant’s failure to take safety precautions during the pandemic. The defendant moved the case to federal court under the assertion that the complaint arose under federal law pursuant to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act. The plaintiff then moved to remand the case back to state court.

Federal Jurisdiction in Medical Malpractice Cases

Upon review, the court granted the plaintiff’s motion. The court clarified that a defendant bears the burden of proving that removal is proper; as the defendant failed to meet its burden in this case, the court was required to remand the matter back to state court. Continue reading

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Medical malpractice cases are typically document-intensive, as both plaintiffs and defendants rely on medical records to support their positions, and discovery is a critical component of such cases. As such, if a party fails to comply with discovery requests, it may greatly impair their opponent’s ability to prove their claim or defense. The courts take a party’s refusal to answer discovery requests seriously and, as shown in a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice case, may find it constitutes grounds for dismissing a case in its entirety. If you suffered injuries due to a negligently performed procedure, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney to determine your rights.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was from South Korea, presented to the defendant’s office for gynecologic care in November 2017. At that time, the defendant confirmed that the plaintiff was five weeks pregnant. Later that week, the defendant performed an abortion on the plaintiff, which the plaintiff alleged deviated from the accepted and good practice of medicine.

Reportedly, the plaintiff returned home to South Korea the following month, where a doctor advised her that she was nine weeks pregnant with an unhealthy fetus that was likely to suffer birth defects. She underwent a second abortion procedure that was successful. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the negligently performed abortion caused her to sustain permanent losses and rendered her unable to work for several months. Continue reading

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Medical malpractice cases typically arise in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. In other words, the plaintiff will usually be a patient hurt by the defendant’s negligent care. Under New York law, however, a doctor may be held liable for medical malpractice for harm suffered by someone other than their patients. This was explained in a recent New York ruling issued in a case in which the plaintiff pursued claims against a psychiatrist following harm caused by the psychiatrist’s patient. If you were hurt because of a doctor’s carelessness, you might be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to consult a Rochester medical malpractice attorney.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man who was treating with the defendant psychiatric clinic for mental health issues. The plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit against the man and against the clinic and its professionals. As to the psychiatric clinic defendants, the plaintiff asserted medical malpractice claims. The psychiatric clinic defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing they could not be liable for medical malpractice as the plaintiff was not their patient. The court disagreed and denied the motion, after which the defendant appealed.

Medical Malpractice Claims Pursued by Non-Patients

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The defendants argued that doctors usually only owe a duty of care to their patients and that there was no special relationship that extended that duty to the plaintiffs in this case. The court disagreed. Specifically, the court explained that mental health professionals or psychiatrists owe their patients a duty to exercise professional judgment and offer treatment using a proper medical foundation. In some instances, though, that duty extends to the narrow group of individuals that the physician could expect to be affected by the treatment, but also to the public at large as well. Continue reading

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When people suffer harm in the course of receiving medical care, it is often due to the incompetence of their healthcare providers. Negligent healthcare providers, however, will rarely admit liability. In other words, the parties will dispute whether the medical acts in question were performed properly and, if not, whether they were the cause of the patient’s harm. Whichever party presents more compelling arguments typically prevails, but in some cases, the courts rule improvidently and dismiss a plaintiff’s medical malpractice case despite evidence that indicates they should be permitted to proceed with their claims. Recently, a New York court discussed the ground for granting summary judgment dismissal of medical malpractice claims in a case in which the plaintiff’s claims were ultimately reinstated. If you were hurt by a reckless physician, you should talk to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was 28 weeks pregnant, went to the defendant hospital with complaints of decreased fetal movement. The defendant’s residents examined the plaintiff, and the plaintiff was admitted to the hospital. The following morning the defendant ob-gyn examined the plaintiff’s fetal monitoring strip and recommended that the plaintiff’s care remain the same. The next day, a sonogram showed that the fetus had a weak heart rate, and the plaintiff underwent an emergency c-section.

Allegedly, the infant suffered severe brain damage due to the fact that he was deprived of oxygen before delivery. He died shortly after he was born. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants. The defendant ob-gyn moved for summary judgment, and the court granted his motion. The plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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Under New York law, there are different statutes of limitations for pursuing negligence and medical malpractice actions. While such claims are similar, there are key differences between them, and if a party seeking damages for harm caused by a medical professional fails to properly characterize their claims, they may unintentionally waive their right to recover compensation. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, finding that they were barred by the two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice actions. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of a doctor, it is important to confer with a Rochester medical malpractice attorney promptly to protect your rights.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent received medical care at the defendant hospital in September 2015 for unspecified health concerns. He died two weeks into his hospital admission. Approximately three years later, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting wrongful death and medical malpractice claims. The defendant then moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s medical malpractice claim on the grounds it was barred by the two-and-a-half-year statute of limitations. The plaintiff opposed the motion, arguing that her claims sounded in negligence and not medical malpractice. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Differences Between Negligence and Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim. In doing so, the court discussed the nuances between negligence and medical malpractice claims. The court noted that the distinction is subtle, and no sharp line divides the two. Rather, whether a claim sounds in medical malpractice or ordinary negligence turns on whether the behavior complained of involves an art or matter of medical science requiring special skills not typically possessed by lay people or whether the acts or omissions complained of could be evaluated on the basis of the common experience of the judge or jury. Continue reading

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First responders are often dispatched to provide emergency medical care to people suffering from critical health concerns. Tragically, however, first responders sometimes make fatal mistakes when offering acutely ill people care. In such instances, the first responders can often be held accountable for medical malpractice. Recently, a New York court discussed what evidence is needed to prove that first responders should be liable for negligent medical care in an opinion issued in a case in which the plaintiff’s decedent died following incompetent care. If you were hurt by the recklessness of a health care provider, you might be owed compensation, and you should speak to a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as you can.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the decedent suffered a seizure while working. The defendant paramedics who were employed by the defendant city responded to a 911 call the decedent’s co-workers placed. Within fifteen minutes, the decedent’s heart stopped. The defendant paramedics administered the decedent a drug per the instruction of the defendant doctor. The decedent never regained consciousness or the ability to breathe on his own. He died a month after the incident. His wife subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting, among other things, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. The decedent city moved for dismissal via summary judgment.

Demonstrating First Responders Committed Medical Malpractice

The court granted the defendant city’s motion in large part, dismissing most of the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that when a medical malpractice claim is asserted against a municipality, the first issue the court must decide is whether the municipal entity was acting in a governmental capacity or engaged in a proprietary function when the claim arose. Continue reading

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Typically, victims of medical negligence will pursue medical malpractice claims against the providers that caused their harm. In certain situations, though, incompetent medical care may give rise to a constitutional violation claim. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion differentiating between the two causes of action in a matter in which the plaintiff sought compensation following negligent treatment of a mental health issue. If you suffered harm due to delayed medical care, you have the right to seek damages, and you should contact a Rochester medical malpractice attorney to discuss your possible claims.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was confined to a facility owned and operated by the state. While there, he sought medical care due to mental health issues, including depression and suicidal ideation. He was examined and released. He subsequently attempted to end his life by suicide. He survived and filed a lawsuit against the defendants, and employees of the facility, alleging they violated his constitutional rights by failing to provide him with adequate medical care. The defendants moved for summary judgment, and the case was referred to a magistrate. The magistrate filed a report and recommendation that the court grant the motion.

When Medical Malpractice Becomes a Constitutional Violation

The court declined to adopt the magistrate’s reasoning and dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. The court explained that there are both subjective and subjective requirements to succeed on constitutional claims arising out of mental health concerns. First, the danger presented by the defendant’s alleged deliberate indifference must be adequately serious from an objective perspective. Second, the defendant must have acted with deliberate indifference to that need. In other words, they must have subjectively failed to address the danger.

In the subject case, the court found that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the objective portion of the plaintiff’s claim could be satisfied. In other words, whether the plaintiff’s propensity to self-harm or attempt suicide constituted a sufficiently serious mental health need.

Further, the court explained that upon viewing the facts in a light that is most favorable to the plaintiff as the non-moving party, a genuine issue of material fact existed as to the subjective prong as well. In other words, whether the defendants were aware of and disregarded the excessive risks to the plaintiff’s mental health and safety. Based on the foregoing, the court declined to grant the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Continue reading

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