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New York Court Discusses Demonstrating Liability in a Nursing Malpractice Case

People typically consider medical malpractice to be harm caused by negligent doctors. While many medical malpractice claims arise out of the careless acts of physicians, other healthcare providers, including nurses, can be liable for the injuries caused by negligent medical care. In a recent opinion issued in a New York case, the court discussed what evidence is needed to establish liability for nursing malpractice. If you were harmed by inadequate nursing care, you have the right to pursue damages for your losses, and it is wise to consult a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the defendants provided nursing services to the decedent in his home during the months leading up to his death. In June 2017, the plaintiff, both individually and as the administrator of the decedent’s estate, initiated a legal action against the defendants, seeking damages for medical malpractice and wrongful death. The defendants, in response, moved for summary judgment to have the complaint dismissed. The trial court denied the defendants’ motion, prompting them to file an appeal.

Demonstrating Liability in a Nursing Malpractice Case

The court reversed the trial court ruling on appeal. In doing so, the court considered the elements required to establish a medical malpractice cause of action, namely evidence that the defendant departed from accepted medical standards and that such a deviation was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.

The court explained that a defendant seeking a motion for summary judgment bears the burden of proof. Specifically, they must show the absence of a departure from the good and accepted medical practice or that the plaintiff was not harmed as a result of any such deviation. Once the defendant meets this prima facie burden, the plaintiff must present factual evidence to counter the defendant’s assertions.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendants successfully established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, as they provided an affirmation from a physician and an affidavit from a registered nurse to demonstrate that the care they administered adhered to accepted standards and that any alleged deviation was not a proximate cause of the decedent’s injuries.

In response, the plaintiff submitted a redacted physician’s affidavit. However, this redacted affidavit failed to establish the affiant’s familiarity with the relevant nursing care standards. Moreover, the plaintiff’s expert opinions that the defendants had deviated from the applicable standard of care were deemed speculative, conclusory, and nonresponsive to the specific points raised by the defendants’ experts. As such, the court found that the trial court should have granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint.

Talk to a Skilled Rochester Medical Malpractice Attorney

Like doctors, nurses have an obligation to treat patients in accordance with their professional standard of care, and if they fail to do so, they may be liable for nursing malpractice. If you were injured by the acts or omissions of a careless nurse, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer about your possible claims. The skilled Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the facts of your case and advise you of what claims you may be able to pursue. You can contact us at 833-200-2000 or through the form online to set up a meeting.

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