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Articles Posted in Ophthalmology malpractice

Ophthalmologists generally provide routine care, but they are expected to be able to diagnose and treat serious eye issues as well. As such, if they fail to diagnose an illness in a timely manner, it can lead to permanent vision issues and may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. As with any malpractice matter, though, a plaintiff must prove each element of the underlying claim, including the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. Recently, a New York court discussed what evidence a plaintiff must produce to establish the existence of a patient-physician relationship in a matter arising out of alleged ophthalmology malpractice. If you were harmed by a negligent eye doctor, it is smart to speak to a Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking damages.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited a hospital due to eye issues and was sent to the defendant practice, where she was seen by the defendant ophthalmologist, who diagnosed her with optic neuritis, among other things. She was given eye drops and advised to follow up with the hospital. At a later visit with the defendant ophthalmologist, it was recommended that she obtain an evaluation with the defendant specialist.

Allegedly, a receptionist at the defendant practice called and scheduled an appointment with the defendant specialist, which the plaintiff later rescheduled. Prior to the appointment, however, she was diagnosed with bilateral acute retinal necrosis and hospitalized for seventeen days. The defendant specialist moved for summary judgment, arguing in part that he had no patient-doctor relationship with the plaintiff. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue Reading ›

Under New York law, people injured by incompetent medical care must pursue claims for damages within a certain timeframe, or they may waive the right to recover compensation. In other words, a patient must not only file a medical malpractice lawsuit within the statute of limitations but must also actively prosecute the claim once it is filed; otherwise, the claim may be dismissed. This was illustrated in a recent ophthalmology malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s repeated delays in litigating her claims resulted in the dismissal of her lawsuit. If you suffered injuries due to negligent eye care, it is advisable to speak to a knowledgeable Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

Reportedly, the plaintiff underwent surgical placement of an intraocular lens, which was performed by the defendant ophthalmologist. She suffered complications during the procedure that led to hemorrhaging and the permanent loss of vision in her right eye. She then filed a malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his failure to direct her to stop taking prescription blood thinners prior to the procedure caused her to suffer harm.

Allegedly, in January 2014, the defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint and served the plaintiff with a demand for a bill of particulars and discovery. Plaintiff initially did not respond, but ultimately sat for a deposition. No other action was taken to further the case, however. In April 2018, the defendant served the plaintiff with a notice to resume prosecution, advising the plaintiff he would move to dismiss her case if she did not file a note of issue within 90 days. The plaintiff did not comply with the demand, and her case was dismissed, after which she appealed.

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A doctor may not only injure a patient by performing a procedure improperly but may also cause a patient to suffer harm by failing to warn the patient of the potential risks and side effects of a procedure. Thus, a doctor may commit malpractice by failing to obtain a patient’s informed consent prior to performing a procedure. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages under a lack of informed consent claim, in a case in which the plaintiff was harmed by negligent ophthalmologic care. If you suffered harm because of an ophthalmologist’s reckless acts or omissions, it is wise to speak to a skillful Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney to discuss what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a corneal transplant of the left eye, which was performed by the defendant ophthalmologist. The plaintiff suffered complications following the procedure, which ultimately caused the transplant to fail and required an emergency corneal transplant. It was ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s retina detached, and he would not be able to see out of his left eye anymore. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging claims of negligence and lack of informed consent. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment as to both claims, which the trial court denied. The defendant filed an appeal, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in refusing to dismiss the informed consent claim.

Elements of an Informed Consent Claim

Under New York law, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages for a medical malpractice claim arising out of lack of informed consent must show that the defendant healthcare provider did not disclose alternatives to a treatment or advise the plaintiff of the associated risks of the treatment that were reasonably foreseeable, and that a competent healthcare provider would have disclosed in the same situation.

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In many instances, determining who may be liable for harm caused by negligent medical care may be unexpectedly complicated. For example, even if multiple physicians improperly perform a surgical procedure in a hospital, whether each physician or the hospital may be held liable depends on numerous factors. This was discussed in a recent New York ophthalmology malpractice case, in which the court determined that neither a resident that took part in a negligently performed surgery nor the hospital where it was performed could be held liable for the plaintiff’s alleged harm. If you were injured by negligent care provided by an ophthalmologist, it is in your best interest to speak with a vigilant Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney regarding who may be liable for your harm.

History of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff treated at the defendant hospital in June 2013, where he underwent a surgical procedure to remove cataracts. The surgery was performed by the defendant attending physician, with the assistance of the defendant resident. The plaintiff ultimately filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, alleging the surgery was improperly performed, resulting in an occlusion of his central retinal vein. The defendant hospital and defendant resident filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Liability of Residents and Hospitals for Medical Errors

Under New York law, a resident who does not exercise independent medical judgment but merely assists a doctor during a procedure, cannot be held liable for any medical malpractice that occurs during the procedure. There is an exception, however, for cases in which the doctor’s guidance so drastically departed from normal practice that the resident should be held accountable for failing to intervene. In the subject case, the court noted that both the testimony of the parties and the medical records established that the defendant physician had complete control over the diagnosis of the plaintiff and the surgery, including the surgical approach. Further, the defendants demonstrated that the defendant physician did not so greatly depart from the standard of care so as to require the defendant resident to intervene.

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Some people who suffer injuries due to medical malpractice are reluctant to retain an attorney for numerous reasons and will attempt to proceed through the litigation process on their own. Medical malpractice cases are complicated, however, and require adept handling that is beyond the capacity of most individuals. Recently, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York highlighted the risks associated with filing a medical malpractice lawsuit without an attorney when it dismissed a complaint in which a pro se plaintiff alleged ophthalmologic malpractice. If you sustained injuries because of an incompetent ophthalmologist, it is in your best interest to retain an experienced Rochester ophthalmology malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing damages.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff brought a pro se action against multiple defendants, alleging numerous claims. The facts contained in the plaintiff’s complaint were sparse but included the allegation that his eyesight was destroyed by the defendant medical practitioners. The court found that the complaint failed to comply with the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but granted the plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.

Sufficiency of a Medical Malpractice Complaint Under Federal Law

While the courts grant pro se parties a fair amount of leeway, any pro se pleading must nonetheless comply with the standards established by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, a complaint must set forth a short and direct statement of the plaintiff’s claim that shows the plaintiff should be granted relief. Thus, a complaint is not required to contain unnecessary details or to be lengthy. Additionally, a plaintiff cannot pursue claims that bear no relation to each other against numerous parties in one action. Further, although courts liberally construe pro se pleadings, they are not required to wade through a sea of papers produced by a plaintiff to determine if the plaintiff asserts a cognizable claim.

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