Articles Posted in Surgical Error

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eye machineAny health issue relating to the eye can be extremely bothersome because our vision is an essential tool to navigate day-to-day life. When you visit an ophthalmologist, you expect competent care that will make your condition better, not worse. If you or a loved one has suffered an eye injury due to an ophthalmologist’s error, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. With years of experience in settling and litigating ophthalmology cases, our Rochester ophthalmology malpractice lawyers understand how to navigate these complex claims.

Ophthalmology is the specialty of medicine pertaining to the anatomy, functions, pathology, and treatment of the eye. In other words, ophthalmologists are eye doctors who specialize in eye diseases. Errors by an ophthalmologist can have severe effects on a patient’s eye health. In the most serious cases, these mistakes could lead to irreparable loss of vision. Examples of ophthalmology mistakes that can lead to a malpractice claim include surgery errors, medication errors, failure to monitor the patient after surgery, Lasik errors, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose an eye condition, and any careless conduct that causes an eye infection. These errors could lead to a variety of injuries, such as double vision, eye infection, corneal haze, blurry vision, blindness, eye flap-related injuries, and more.

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Medical Clamps
One of the most egregious forms of surgical errors is leaving foreign objects inside the patient. Unfortunately, case law reveals that this happens far more often than one might think. However, even if a physician neglects to remove medical devices during surgery, any lawsuit still needs to be litigated in accordance with New York surgical error laws and court procedure. As an example, an appeals court recently overturned a trial court decision in which the plaintiff’s case was dismissed, even though he alleged that medical clamps were left inside him after undergoing a surgical procedure.

The plaintiff underwent a lymph node dissection, which was performed by two physicians. The physicians used Hem-o-Lok clips during the operation, which are used during surgeries to permanently close bleeding vessels or tissue structures. After surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea, infections, and other complications. Doctors finally discovered a large bladder stone years later. The surgery to remove the bladder stone also revealed the Hem-o-Lok clip within it. The plaintiff’s expert opined that he believed the clip was inserted during the first procedure performed by the defendants, traveled to the bladder, and was not located or retrieved prior to closure. As a result, according to the plaintiff’s expert, the defendants violated the standard of care of the average qualified urologist when they failed to retrieve the loose clip before ending the surgery. The expert further attributed the plaintiff’s later symptoms, including the bladder stone formation, to the negligence of the defendants.

The defendants argued in response that the plaintiff’s expert testimony was conclusory. The appeals court denied this argument because the plaintiff’s expert had provided a factually based statement by a qualified expert, which was sufficient to meet the plaintiff’s burden of proof at that stage of the pre-trial proceedings. On the issue of causation, the defendants argued that the plaintiff failed to establish a causal link between the negligence and the plaintiff’s later complaints and discomfort. The court again disagreed. The plaintiff had presented enough evidence such that there was a greater likelihood that the harm to the plaintiff flowed from conduct for which the defendant was responsible. The appeals court vacated the lower court’s judgment and remanded the case, allowing the plaintiff to proceed with their claims.

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Lawsuits require that an injured person identify who they think is responsible for their injuries. This may seem obvious, but it’s often difficult to determine which parties shoulder the responsibility for an alleged injury. This issue is often present in medical malpractice lawsuits. Often, multiple medical professionals will perform surgery, those professionals are employed in various medical groups, and the surgery occurs within a regulated hospital. Moreover, as a recent New York surgical error case discussed, a manufacturer of medical products and devices may also be implicated in a medical negligence lawsuit.

Facial Filler
In a recent case, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against his plastic surgeon, the plastic surgery surgical group, and the manufacturer of a facial filler product. The court focused on the cause of action as directed toward the medical product manufacturer. Unlike most medical negligence claims in New York, claims against a medical product manufacturer require the establishment of a different theory of liability. Specifically, a party injured as a result of a defective medical product may seek damages against the manufacturer based on theories of a breach of a promise, express or implied, negligence, or strict product liability, including a failure to warn users of dangers. However, under New York law, the manufacturer only owes a duty to warn the physician, rather than the patient, of the product’s risks. The manufacturer does not have a duty to warn a patient of risks associated with its product. It instead discharges its duty by providing sufficient information to the physician.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the product’s pharmaceutical representatives were responsible for providing instructions to the physicians on how to use the facial filler product. The plaintiff alleged that the pharmaceutical reps were present on one or more occasions when the physicians were treating the plaintiff. His complaint asserted that the pharmaceutical reps had a duty to assert that the product was used and administered in a safe manner, in accordance with regulatory guidelines.

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Medical malpractice can lead to serious injuries and in some cases, even death. The plaintiff’s decedent in a New York medical malpractice case was placed in a difficult position when the decedent underwent two surgeries, and neither surgeon would take responsibility for the action that led to the decedent’s allegedly fatal injuries.

Surgical Procedure

The plaintiff’s decedent had two medical procedures, and both surgeons were named as defendants in the ensuing lawsuit. The first procedure was a gall bladder extraction. Following the surgery, the decedent experienced pain and returned to the hospital. The patient underwent scans, and the tests showed that there was no leakage or perforation. However, upon further review, the doctors weren’t so sure and proceeded to take X-rays of the area in question, using an endoscope. The defendants argued among themselves about who caused the perforation. Either it was caused in the first procedure or later, in the second procedure, with a catheter. Both defendants agreed that by the time of the second procedure, there was a leak in the bile duct, leading into the abdominal cavity.

Surgeon number 2 established his prima facie case on summary judgment by providing deposition testimony, medical records, and the statements of two experts that supported that he did not breach the standard of care, nor were the actions of surgeon number 2 the cause of the decedent’s alleged injuries. An expert in gastroenterology opined that the bile duct leak was pre-existing by the time surgeon number 2 had the patient under his care.

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Syringe and Vials

Even supposedly routine surgeries carry risks and require that doctors perform those surgeries with an established standard of care. It can be a shocking experience to learn that a loved one has suffered complications as a result of a procedure that is commonly performed in hospitals across the United States. In a recent case, a New York man sued his surgeon for medical malpractice after he suffered complications from a procedure intended to remove fluid from excessive fluid near one of his testicles.

The plaintiff went into surgery for a procedure to extract fluids that had accumulated near one of his testicles. The surgery was performed, but shortly afterwards, the plaintiff began experiencing pain in his scrotum. He later lost the function of his right testicle. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the surgeon for medical malpractice. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the testicular damage resulted from the defendant’s failure to perform certain standard tasks during the surgical procedure, and these omissions led to an injury to the plaintiff’s right testicle. The trial court ruled in favor of the defendant’s summary judgment motion, and the plaintiff appealed the ruling.

The appeals court considered this case within the context of New York’s well-established medical malpractice laws. In order for the plaintiff to prevail in a medical malpractice action, the plaintiff must prove the physician departed from the standards of care for his or her practice, and there was a causal link between the negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries.

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