Published on:

New York Court Discusses Evidence Demonstrating Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case

In medical malpractice cases, the injured party must show that the health care provider deviated from what is considered the accepted practice of medicine. Thus, the person seeking damages must produce evidence demonstrating the standard of care. In a recent opinion, a New York court discussed what evidence is admissible in a medical malpractice case and how compelling the plaintiff’s evidence must be to show that the defendant caused the harm alleged in a matter arising out of surgical malpractice. If you suffered harm due to an error during a procedure, it is advisable to consult a skillful Rochester surgical malpractice attorney to discuss your claims.

The Injury and Subsequent Pleadings

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent a surgical hernia repair in December 2013. The defendant performed the surgery. In March 2014, after experiencing difficulty eating and abdominal pain, the plaintiff was diagnosed with a disorder that caused stomach paralysis and made it difficult to digest food. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing his negligent performance of the December 2013 procedure caused the plaintiff’s harm. A trial was conducted, and the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding him $500,000. The defendant appealed, arguing that certain evidence was inappropriately admitted at trial and that the court improperly instructed the jury.

Evidence Demonstrating Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case

On appeal, the court noted that while the defendant raised a general objection to the admission of a manual into evidence at trial, he failed to raise the specific objection necessary for the court to consider the matter on appeal. Regardless, the court declined to adopt the defendant’s reasoning that the manual was used to demonstrate the standard of care.

Rather, the court explained it was used to question the defendant regarding the manner in which the procedure performed was inconsistent with the manual. The court stated that this technique was proper under New York law as the defendant considered the manual to be authoritative.

Further, the court found that the trial court properly instructed the jury as to the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor, which means the thing speaks for itself and can be invoked to allow a jury to infer negligence solely from the occurrence of an event. The court explained that the doctrine derives from the understanding that certain events do not occur without negligence.

In addition to establishing this first element, a plaintiff relying on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor must show that the injury was caused by an instrument exclusively within the defendant’s control and that the plaintiff did not contribute to the harm suffered. Here, the court found the evidence demonstrated that the instruction of res ipsa loquitor was proper. Thus, the court affirmed the judgment.

Speak to a Trusted Malpractice Attorney

Surgeries that are meant to help patients unfortunately sometimes cause lasting injuries. If you suffered harm due to a doctor’s surgical malpractice, you should speak to an attorney regarding your right to seek compensation. The trusted medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options and help you to pursue the full amount of damages recoverable. You can reach us by calling 585-653-7343 or by using our form online to set up a meeting.

Justia Lawyer Rating
Contact Information