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Expert Witness Fails to Properly Review Medical Evidence, Sinking Plaintiff’s New York Medical Malpractice Case

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.

The defendant provided a wide variety of evidence to support his position, including medical records, an expert witness, and affidavits. The defendant’s expert witness testified that the plaintiff almost certainly did not experience testicular torsion caused as a result of the procedure. The defendant’s expert reviewed ultrasound images that apparently showed adequate blood flow to the right testicle.  This meant, in the expert’s view, that the plaintiff did not experience testicular torsion.

The court found that the plaintiff failed to rebut the defendant’s evidence. In fact, the plaintiff’s expert apparently did not review the ultrasound images that the defendant’s expert had used to form his testimony. Instead, the plaintiff’s expert relied only on the ultrasound report. The court ruled that this was insufficient to create a triable issue, and the trial court’s decision was affirmed for the defendant.

It can be difficult to know to whom to turn when surgical errors are suspected. As patients, we want to trust our doctors, but it is important to remember that even highly skilled and experienced physicians make mistakes. If you have been injured during surgery and want to talk about your legal options with a medical malpractice attorney, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. At Rochester-based DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent clients throughout central New York who are pursuing a medical malpractice claim for a surgical error. Call 315-479-9000 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help.

More Blog Posts:

Continuous Treatment Doctrine at Issue in New York Cancer Misdiagnosis Case, Rochester Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog, September 21, 2017

Hospital Denied Emergency Room Exception to Vicarious Liability Rule, Rochester Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog, September 19, 2017

New York Court Allows Anesthesia Error Case to Proceed, Rochester Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Blog, September 12, 2017

Photo Credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images, [CC0 Creative Commons], via Pixabay

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