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Court Explains Differences Between New York Negligence and Malpractice Lawsuits Against Hospitals

Although most medical malpractice cases allege that the defendant medical care provider’s breach of the standard of care was due to negligence, rather than an intentional act, there are key differences between an ordinary negligence claim and a medical malpractice claim. The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, recently distinguished between negligence and medical malpractice claims in a case in which the plaintiff alleged a hospital’s negligence caused her to sustain harm following a surgery. If your health was harmed by hospital malpractice it is essential to retain an experienced Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to assist you in pursuing claims against anyone responsible for your harm.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure at the defendant hospital. Following the surgery, the plaintiff experienced substantial memory loss and threatened to leave the hospital several times. Due to her symptoms and a recommendation from her psychiatrist, the plaintiff spent a portion of her stay in the hospital in a cluster room or under one-on-one supervision. The plaintiff left the hospital and was found five days later with numerous injuries.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital, alleging that the hospital negligently failed to provide her with appropriate supervision and care. The defendant moved to compel the plaintiff to produce a certificate of merit, arguing that her claims sounded in malpractice. The plaintiff opposed the motion and moved for leave to amend her complaint. The court granted the defendant’s motion and granted the plaintiff leave to amend, to the extent she intended to add a claim for malpractice. The plaintiff appealed.

Ordinary Negligence Versus Malpractice

To determine whether a claim alleges negligence or malpractice, the key factor is the nature of the duty that was allegedly breached. The difference between a malpractice claim and an ordinary negligence claim is whether the alleged omissions or acts that harmed the injured party involved medical science or special skills not possessed by the ordinary person or can be evaluated by lay people based on their everyday experiences. Typically, a claim will sound in medical malpractice when the conduct alleged is considered medical treatment or bears a strong connection to the practice of providing medical treatment.

Hospitals have a duty to exercise reasonable diligence and care in ensuring a patient’s safety, which is based in part on the ability of the patient to provide for his or her own safety. If a lawsuit challenges a hospital’s performance of functions that are an essential part of rendering treatment such as determining the need for restraints, therefore it sounds in malpractice. In the subject case, the court found that the trial court accurately assessed the plaintiff’s complaint as sounding in medical malpractice. Specifically, the lawsuit challenged the hospital’s evaluation of supervisory needs, which derived from the duty owed as result of the plaintiff’s treatment. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Discuss Your Harm with a Capable Hospital Malpractice Attorney

If you suffered harm due to a hospital’s negligence you should meet with a capable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to pursue a claim against the hospital for medical malpractice. The proficient hospital malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will diligently pursue any damages you may be owed from the hospital or any other party that contributed to your harm. We can be reached at  585-653-7343 or via our online form to set up a time to meet and discuss your case.

 

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