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Articles Posted in Neurology Malpractice

Medical doctors are held to a specific standard of care, and if they depart from the standard, they can be held accountable for injuries or illnesses caused by their incompetence. It is axiomatic, however, that they may only be deemed liable for medical malpractice if their negligent acts harm a person in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. In a recent case in which the plaintiff sued several neurosurgeons after he became paralyzed, a New York court explained what level of interaction is sufficient to establish a treating relationship. If you suffered nerve damage or other injuries because of a doctor’s careless acts, you should consult a dedicated Rochester neurosurgery malpractice attorney regarding your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Treatment

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who worked as a deckhand on a boat, was moving heavy equipment when he felt a pop in his neck. He was helped off the boat and taken to a medical facility, after which he was transported to the defendant hospital for an evaluation. He was assessed by a doctor in the emergency room, who then called the on-call neurologist and the on-call neurosurgeon, who advised that the plaintiff should be transferred to another hospital to undergo surgery.

Reportedly, the plaintiff was transferred and eventually underwent surgery to decompress his spinal cord, but he was nonetheless paralyzed. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against numerous providers that treated him in connection with his injury, including the neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that he did not have a doctor-patient relationship with the plaintiff and therefore, could not be held liable. The court disagreed and denied his motion.

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In any medical malpractice case, while the plaintiff has the discretion to control which venue the case is filed in, the defendant can move for a change of venue if it feels the venue is improper. A New York trial court recently addressed the issue of when a change of venue is appropriate in a neurosurgery malpractice case. If you suffered harm due to inadequate neurosurgical care, it is critical to retain a Rochester neurosurgery malpractice attorney with the knowledge and experience needed to properly handle the procedural aspects of your claim.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff husband treated with the defendant physicians at the defendant hospital for an ophthalmic aneurysm. Plaintiffs subsequently filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendants in 2013, arising out of harm allegedly caused by care the plaintiff husband received from the defendants. The case was filed in Bronx County, based on the plaintiff wife’s residence. The plaintiffs move to Schenectady County in 2014. In 2019, the parties stipulated to dismiss the defendant hospital. Subsequently, the remaining defendants filed a motion for change of venue to Westchester County, arguing that the venue was no longer proper as none of the parties resided in Bronx County, and the alleged malpractice occurred in Westchester County.  The court denied the motion.

Standard for Granting a Change of Venue

In New York, a defendant can seek a change of venue within a reasonable time after the lawsuit is commenced. There are three specific grounds for change of venue under the relevant statute. First, venue can be changed if the designated county is improper. Venue can also be changed if an impartial trial cannot be conducted in the relevant county, or if a change of venue is appropriate for the convenience of the material witnesses. Here, the defendants argued that a change of venue was necessary because it was not the proper county, as none of the parties lived there.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stroke ranks as the fifth-most likely cause of death in the United States and causes a permanent disability in countless others. Stroke is treatable, however, but it’s absolutely necessary if someone is experiencing a stroke that they seek immediate care from a specialist like a neurologist. Unfortunately, in a New York neurology malpractice case, D’Orta v. Margaretville Mem. Hosp., the plaintiff alleged that the wait time for treatment of his stroke led to significant disabilities that could have been avoided if the medical professionals had not acted negligently.The plaintiff was playing cards with his friends in the early morning hours when he collapsed on the floor. The plaintiff had difficulty speaking, his face’s right side drooped, and he lost the use of his hand. His fiancee transported the plaintiff to a local hospital, where he arrived at 2:16 a.m. His collapse occurred an hour earlier, at 1:16 a.m. A physician at the local hospital, a defendant in the lawsuit, advised the plaintiff that he should be transported to a regional hospital with better resources to care for the plaintiff.  The plaintiff was transferred to the other hospital and arrived at 4:52 a.m. The hospital consulted with a neurologist about administering TPA, a drug that can dissolve clots in certain stroke patients. However, the neurologist concluded that the plaintiff’s stroke was too severe, and too much time had passed to administer the drug.

The plaintiff named the hospitals and the physicians who provided care, including the neurologist, as defendants in a neurology malpractice lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants committed malpractice because they did not administer TPA because the transfer to the second hospital was allegedly not timely. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the lower court denied, and the defendants appealed the decision.

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