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Articles Posted in Obstetric Malpractice

In New York medical malpractice cases, which party prevails depends in large part on who offers more compelling expert testimony. Thus, it is not uncommon for one party to try to prevent the other from presenting an expert at trial. It is within the trial court’s discretion as to whether to preclude expert testimony, however, and in most instances, such determinations cannot be challenged prior to trial, as demonstrated in a recent New York ruling issued in a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suffered harm because of negligent care provided by a physician, you might be owed compensation, and you should contact a Rochester medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendants provided the plaintiff mother with obstetric care throughout the course of her pregnancy and delivered her child. The child was born prematurely and suffered serious complications, including periventricular leukomalacia and polymicrogyria. The plaintiff mother subsequently filed a lawsuit asserting medical malpractice claims against the defendants individually and on behalf of her son.

Reportedly, the defendants subsequently moved to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from offering certain medical opinions at trial. The court granted the motion, but only in part. Specifically, the orders granted the portion of the defendants’ motion in which they requested that the court preclude the plaintiff’s expert from opining that polymicrogyria can be caused by post-delivery events but declined to preclude the expert from offering an opinion that polymicrogyria could be caused by prematurity, extreme prematurity, intraventricular hemorrhage, or periventricular leukomalacia. As such, the defendants appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in issuing its ruling. Continue Reading ›

Frequently, a plaintiff harmed by negligent health care will be able to pursue more than one cause of action in a lawsuit against his or her treatment provider. For example, in many instances, a plaintiff will assert both a medical malpractice claim and a lack of informed consent claim. While plaintiffs generally have the right to pursue multiple claims, if they fail to do so in the proper manner, one or more of their claims may be dismissed. This was shown in a recent ob-gyn malpractice case in New York in which the plaintiff’s lack of informed consent claim against a government-owned hospital was barred due to the plaintiff’s failure to provide proper notice. If you or your child suffered injuries due to a doctor’s careless treatment during your pregnancy, it is wise to consult a seasoned Rochester ob-gyn malpractice attorney to discuss your right to pursue damages.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment at the defendant hospital, which was funded by the federal government, during her pregnancy. She ultimately gave birth to her son at the defendant hospital, via cesarean section, but he tragically passed away later that day. Following an autopsy, the cause of the infant’s death was determined to be respiratory distress syndrome, which was caused by the immaturity of his lungs and hyaline membrane disease. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant and its employees.

Allegedly, the federal government substituted itself as the defendant, due to the fact that the facility was federally supported. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims due to her failure to comply with several aspects of the Federal Tort Claims Act, including the failure to properly inform the defendant she intended to pursue a lack of informed consent claim.

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Losing a child due to medical malpractice can cause great emotional trauma. In some cases, though, despite the grave emotional harm suffered by a parent that loses a child due to incompetent medical care, a parent cannot recover damages for emotional distress, as demonstrated in a recent obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice case in New York. If you suffered the loss of a child or your child suffered an injury at birth due to negligent medical care, you should speak to a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual History

It is alleged that the plaintiff presented to a hospital with high blood pressure when she was twenty-six weeks pregnant. She was treated by two obstetrician-gynecologists while at the hospital. Two days after she was admitted to the hospital, she was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia and transferred to the second hospital. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice claim against both hospitals and the two obstetrician-gynecologists that treated her, alleging their incompetent treatment caused her to deliver a stillborn child. As part of her claim, the plaintiff sought damages for emotional distress. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment as to the emotional distress claims, arguing that the plaintiff could not recover such damages because her child had been born alive. The trial court granted the defendants’ motions, and the plaintiff appealed.

Damages for Emotional Distress in Medical Malpractice Claims in New York

On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The appellate court noted that, under New York law, a mother could not recover compensation for emotional distress for alleged malpractice that causes an injury to a fetus in utero, if the fetus is ultimately born alive. The appellate court further explained that a live birth is defined as a complete extraction or expulsion of a child from its mother, where after the separation from the mother, the child breathes, has a heartbeat, or shows any other evidence of life, regardless of the duration of the pregnancy.

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Many pregnant women treat with ob-gyns throughout their pregnancy, to monitor both their health and the health of their unborn child. As part of this care, ob-gyns routinely perform ultrasounds, to scan for abnormalities. In a recent case arising out of the death of a pregnant woman due to complications following a third-trimester abortion, the court analyzed whether a plaintiff should be granted leave to amend a complaint in response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to ob-gyn malpractice it is crucial to retain a Rochester ob-gyn malpractice attorney adept at helping injured parties seek compensation for their harm.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant ob-gyn for an ultrasound when she was 20 weeks pregnant. During the ultrasound, an anatomy scan was performed. The defendant determined the results of the scan were normal, but noted some asymmetry, and recommended a repeat scan. A second scan was performed eight weeks later, during which it was noted that the fetus had severe abnormalities. An MRI was subsequently conducted, after which it was noted that the fetus had a poor prognosis. The decedent then underwent counseling after which she elected to terminate her pregnancy.

Allegedly, a week after the MRI the decedent underwent a procedure to terminate the pregnancy, which took four days. The day after the decedent was discharged her condition deteriorated. She died the following day. Following an autopsy, it was determined that her cause of death was disseminated intravascular coagulation caused by an amniotic fluid embolus following the termination of her pregnancy.

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In a New York medical malpractice case, the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff, with regards to proving whether the defendant caused the harm alleged. In many cases, after discovery is completed, the defendant will file a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case in its entirety on the basis that the plaintiff has insufficient evidence to support his or her claims. A New York court recently assessed whether the defendants were entitled to summary judgment, in a case in which the plaintiffs alleged the defendants committed obstetric malpractice by failing to diagnose the plaintiff child’s chromosomal disorder prior to birth. If your child was born with a condition or disorder that should have been diagnosed prior to his or her birth you should consult a skillful Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover damages.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff child was born with Cri Du Chat Syndrome (CDC).  The plaintiff parents filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant obstetrician, alleging that the defendant obstetrician committed medical malpractice by failing to discover the plaintiff child’s CDC prior to birth. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to address results of a blood test that indicated a potential chromosomal defect, failed to perform invasive genetic testing, and failed to perform sonograms after the 32ndweek of pregnancy to rule out intrauterine growth restriction. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case.

Standard for Granting Motion for Summary Judgment

The court noted that the defendant met the initial burden of showing their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting an expert affirmation stating that the defendant doctor did not depart from the appropriate standard of care. The court held, however, that the plaintiffs’ reply was adequate to overcome the defendants’ expert opinion.

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Generally, a party alleging obstetric malpractice is entitled to the disclosure of any facts and information that is necessary and material to pursue a lawsuit. While the policy typically favors liberal discovery, there are some privileges that provide exceptions to the general rule. For example, Education Law § 6537(3) protects certain information produced by a hospital performing a medical malpractice or quality assurance review. Recently, a New York appellate court analyzed the discrete issue of whether a defendant in an obstetric malpractice lawsuit can be compelled to testify regarding statements made by another defendant in a meeting protected by § 6537(3). If your child suffered injuries at birth because of insufficient obstetric care, it is essential to engage a seasoned Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney regarding the care that led to your child’s harm and what evidence you may be able to obtain to support your claim.

Testimony Regarding the Plaintiff’s Care

It is alleged that the plaintiff mother was admitted to the defendant hospital for induction of labor. The plaintiff infant was delivered via an emergency cesarean section later the same day. The plaintiffs allege that due to obstetric malpractice during the course of labor and delivery the plaintiff infant suffered permanent and severe injuries, including brain damage. The plaintiffs brought an obstetric malpractice lawsuit against the defendant nurse, defendant doctor, and defendant hospital.

Reportedly, during the deposition of the defendant nurse, the plaintiffs’ attorney questioned the defendant nurse regarding what the defendant doctor stated during the subsequent quality assurance meeting to review the events that transpired during the plaintiff infant’s birth. The defendants’ attorney objected to the question on the grounds that the information was protected by Education Law § 6537(3). The plaintiffs then filed a motion to compel the defendant nurse to testify regarding the meeting.
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