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Court Discusses the Necessity of Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases in New York

Medical malpractice cases are typically complex, and the issue of whether a health care practitioner departed from the accepted standard of care typically fall outside of the understanding of the average person. Thus, in most medical malpractice lawsuits, the plaintiff will have to rely on expert testimony to establish liability. The importance of an expert affidavit was highlighted in a recent primary care malpractice case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to the fact the plaintiff failed to produce an expert report. If you or a loved one sustained damages because of incompetent medical treatment, it is advisable to confer with a seasoned Rochester primary care malpractice attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover in a civil lawsuit.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff, who suffers from diabetes, visited a federally funded health center where he was seen by the defendant physician and a lab technician for medication refills and a general examination. During the plaintiff’s visit, he was alert and oriented and did not note any concerns, such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or compromised vision. As such, no one obtained a reading of the plaintiff’s glucose level during the visit, but the defendant physician ordered blood work that would test the plaintiff’s glucose levels over a three-month period. The plaintiff underwent the test the following day, after which he was discharged from the health center.

It is reported that after the plaintiff was discharged, he was involved in a motor vehicle collision. It was subsequently revealed that the plaintiff’s blood sugar level was below normal, and the plaintiff asserted that he blacked out during the accident due to low blood sugar. He subsequently filed a medical malpractice case against the defendants, seeking damages for the harm caused by the defendant physician’s alleged negligence. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims.

The necessity of Expert Testimony in Medical Malpractice Cases

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant physician deviated from the accepted standard of medical care. As such, he was required to produce evidence sufficient to establish a departure from the standard of care and to show that the departure was the proximate cause of his harm. The court explained that in New York medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff generally must provide expert testimony in support of the plaintiff’s assertions to set forth a prima facie case of medical malpractice unless the alleged malpractice falls within the understanding of the fact finder.

Medical malpractice that falls within a fact finder’s purview must be obvious and clear, such as surgery on the wrong body part. In the subject case, the court found that there was no clear evidence of malpractice, but the plaintiff failed to provide an expert opinion in support of his assertions. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Speak with a Trusted Rochester Attorney

If you suffered harm following insufficient treatment by your primary care physician, contact a Rochester primary care malpractice attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to present a winning case. The dedicated attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are skilled at helping people injured by incompetent health care seek damages in civil lawsuits and we will zealously pursue the best result available in your case. We can be contacted at 585-653-7343 or via our online form to set up a confidential and free consultation.

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