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New York Court Affirms Dismissal of Pediatric Malpractice Case

Many children suffer from asthma, and while it is generally a manageable condition, it can lead to acute medical events that require immediate treatment. If a paramedic fails to properly provide emergency care to a child having an asthma attack, it can have tragic consequences. Incompetent care does not always equal malpractice, though, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, in which the court ruled that while the defendant breached the standard of care, the breach did not cause the harm suffered. If your child was hurt because of insufficient medical treatment, you could be owed damages, and it is prudent to speak to a trusted Rochester medical malpractice lawyer about your rights.

The Child’s Care

It is reported that the child suffered from asthma and frequently needed to use a nebulizer. In November 2012, when she was seven years old, the child advised her mother that she could not breathe. The mother administered the nebulizer treatment and called 911, which prompted paramedics to arrive. The child was transported to the defendant hospital, where she tragically died that evening.

Allegedly, the mother instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit, arguing in part that the paramedics, as agents of the defendant, negligently failed to perform CPR on the child, resulting in her death. The defendants moved for dismissal via summary judgment, and the court granted the motion. The mother appealed.

Proving Pediatric Malpractice

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that the required elements of proof in a medical malpractice action are a departure from the accepted community standards of the practice of medicine and evidence that such departure proximately caused the injury suffered. Thus, a defendant seeking dismissal must make a prima facie argument showing that there was no deviation from the standard or that any deviation did not cause the harm suffered. An expert affidavit that merely reiterates the care rendered fails to meet this burden.

Conversely, a plaintiff seeking to defeat a motion for summary judgment must submit materials or facts refuting the defendant’s prima facie argument. In the subject case, the court stated that the defendant established its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment argument via its expert affidavit. The court explained that although the affidavit failed to show that the paramedics complied with the applicable standard of care, it nonetheless established that the failure to do so did not proximately cause the child’s death. Thus, the trial court ruling was affirmed.

Meet with a Seasoned Rochester Malpractice Attorney

Children are unfortunately often the victims of medical malpractice, and in some instances, the harm they suffer is fatal. If your child was injured due to the negligent care provided by a medical professional, you may be able to recover damages via a pediatric malpractice claim, and it is advisable to speak to a lawyer. The seasoned Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are skilled at aiding people harmed by careless medical professionals in the pursuit of damages, and if you hire us, we will work diligently to help you seek the full amount of damages recoverable under the law. You can reach us via our online form or at 585-653-7343 to set up a conference.

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