In New York, a defendant in a medical malpractice case is protected from having to disclose certain documents by education and public health laws. There are exemptions to the general rule, however that permit a plaintiff to obtain statements pertaining to the alleged malpractice. The appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York recently addressed when the exceptions apply in a pediatric malpractice case. If your child suffered injuries because of inappropriate pediatric care, it is vital to consult a skillful Rochester pediatric malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover.
Facts of the Case
Reportedly, the plaintiff’s infant son was transported from a medical center to a nearby hospital where he was placed on a ventilator. The child subsequently developed pneumothoraxes in both lungs, which ultimately caused him to suffer a severe brain injury. The plaintiff filed a pediatric malpractice lawsuit against both the medical center and the hospital. During the discovery phase of the case, the plaintiff requested that the defendant hospital produce any and all documents pertaining to the evaluation of the child’s treatment on the date of the alleged harm. The hospital objected to the request on the grounds that any responsive documents would have been created as part of the hospital’s quality assurance program, which were privileged and exempt from disclosure pursuant to New York’s Education Law and Public Health Law.
It is alleged that the plaintiff then filed a motion to compel the responsive documents, arguing that statutory exceptions to the privilege allowed her to obtain statements made throughout the quality assurance process by a doctor or other health care provider named as a defendant regarding the facts and circumstances of the treatment from which the malpractice claim arose. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion, after which the defendant hospital sought intervention from the appellate court.