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New York Court Discusses Evidence in Medical Malpractice Cases

Many older and infirm patients who are admitted to the hospital for critical care are unable to move out of their beds or walk independently. In such instances, the physicians and nurses attending to the patient’s care will typically employ fall prevention measures. If they fail to do so, and a patient falls and suffers harm as a result, it may constitute medical malpractice. As demonstrated in a recent New York ruling, a defendant’s conclusory allegations that they could not have prevented a patient’s fall are inadequate to show that medical malpractice claims should be dismissed. If you or a loved one were injured due to insufficient medical care, it is prudent to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to the defendant’s hospital with failure to thrive and a cough. At the time of admission, she was functionally quadriplegic and categorized as a high fall risk. Tragically, days after her admission, she was discovered on the floor of her room with a head laceration, having fallen from her bed. Subsequent tests revealed she sustained a subdural hematoma. She passed away a week later.

It is reported that the plaintiff initiated a medical malpractice action against the defendant, alleging, among other things, the inadequate assessment of the decedent’s fall risk and inadequate fall prevention measures. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff failed to demonstrate a departure from the standard of care or proximate cause.

Evidence Needed to Win Summary Judgment in Medical Malpractice Cases

The court ultimately denied the defendant’s motion. In doing so, it noted that the defendant relied on expert affidavits, including one from a nurse and another from a neurologist, both offering conclusory statements that the hospital had followed appropriate fall risk procedures and that the fall and resulting subdural hematoma were not substantial factors in the decedent’s death. The court found, however, that the defendant had failed to establish its entitlement to summary judgment. The court deemed the expert affidavits provided by the hospital insufficient, as they lacked specific details and were conclusory.

Specifically, the court noted that the nurse expert did not submit the fall risk assessment or hospital fall prevention policy, which she referenced in her statement. Consequently, the court found that the defendant did not meet its burden of proof with regard to the absence of triable issues regarding a departure from the standard of care or causation. As such, it ruled that the defendant had failed to establish its prima facie entitlement to summary judgment.

Meet with a Trusted Rochester Medical Malpractice Lawyer

People admitted to hospitals typically expect that their health will be protected, but it is an unfortunate truth that healthcare providers in hospitals often make mistakes that cause their patients grave harm. If you or someone you love sustained injuries due to hospital malpractice, you should meet with a lawyer to discuss your potential claims. The trusted Rochester medical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and aid you in seeking any damages you may be owed.  You can reach us by calling 585-653-7343 or using our online form to set up a meeting.

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