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Court Discusses Expert Qualifications in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

In New York, medical malpractice cases are typically a battle of the experts. Thus, if a defendant establishes the right to judgment in its favor via expert testimony but the plaintiff is unable to demonstrate there is a need for a trial on disputed issues via the affidavit of an expert, the plaintiff’s claims may be dismissed. The qualifications of an expert were examined in a recent New York opinion, in which the plaintiff’s expert lacked the knowledge necessary to opine on disputed issues of fact, which ultimately resulted in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s malpractice claims against a primary care physician. If you were injured by the negligence of a doctor in a family practice, you should speak to a seasoned Rochester primary care malpractice attorney regarding your rights.

The Decedent’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was treated by the defendant primary care practice prior to his death. He suffered from numerous health concerns, including congestive heart failure, diabetes, and diabetes-related infections, myocardial infarction, renal disease, and cardiovascular disease. At some point during his treatment, he was required to undergo emergency dialysis, after which he suffered complications. He also fell numerous times and sustained leg wounds that would not heal.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing its negligence caused the decedent’s harm and untimely death. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss and produced an expert affidavit in support. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Expert Qualifications in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

On appeal, the appellate court noted that the defendant’s expert’s affidavit thoroughly addressed each of the allegations set forth by the plaintiff with regard to the defendant’s negligence, establishing that the defendant did not breach the applicable standard of care and that plaintiff’s harm was not caused by any alleged breach. Thus, the defendant established a prima facie right to judgment in its favor.

In opposition, however, the plaintiff produced the affidavit of a doctor certified in nuclear medicine, who lacked the knowledge needed to render an opinion on the treatment of a geriatric patient with the medical issues that plagued the plaintiff’s decedent. Thus, his report was not sufficient to demonstrate a disputed issue of fact that required a trial. Further, the deficiencies in his report were not remedied by the affidavit of a registered nurse. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s claims.

Speak to an Experienced Malpractice Attorney

People regularly rely on physicians to protect and maintain their health, but sadly many patients suffer undue harm because of primary care malpractice. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a careless primary care physician, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your possible claims. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have the skills and knowledge needed to help you seek a just outcome, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our online form or at 585-653-7343 to set up a meeting.

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