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New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Cases Involving Claims of Negligence and Failure to Obtain Consent

It is not uncommon for a plaintiff harmed by negligent medical care to name multiple defendants or set forth more than one claim of medical malpractice. For example, a plaintiff may allege a defendant is liable for providing negligent care and for failing to obtain informed consent. Simply because a plaintiff has sufficient evidence to prove one claim does not mean he or she will be able to succeed on all claims, as demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a motion for summary judgment on a negligence claim against a hospital, but reversed with regard to a failure to obtain informed consent claim. If you sustained damages due to inadequate care you received in a hospital, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant hospital in February 2014 with multiple complaints. He ultimately died, after which his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant practitioner, alleging medical malpractice and failure to obtain informed consent. The defendants moved to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed via summary judgment. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendants appealed.

Sufficient Evidence to Sustain Medical Malpractice Claims

On appeal, the court explained that a defendant in a medical malpractice case must establish the lack of any material issues of fact with respect to at least one of the elements of a medical malpractice claim. Specifically, the defendant must either demonstrate that there is no factual dispute as to whether the defendant departed from the applicable standard of care, or as to whether any alleged departure was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. If the defendant sets forth evidence that no factual dispute exists as to both elements, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that a triable issue of fact exists as to the deviation and to causation elements.

In the subject case, although the defendants submitted an expert affirmation sufficient to establish a prima face showing, the plaintiff’s expert affirmation demonstrated the existence of a triable issue of fact with regard to whether the defendants complied with the standard of care, and whether the failure to do so caused the plaintiff’s decedent’s ultimate death. Specifically, the plaintiff’s expert stated that the defendant practitioner failed to conduct diagnostic tests that should have been performed given the decedent’s symptoms, and that the failure to conduct the tests or provide timely treatment led to the decedent’s liver and renal failure. With regard to the lack of informed consent claim, however, the court found that the plaintiff failed to support any evidence that the defendant departed from the standard of care. As such, the court affirmed the trial court ruling with regards to the malpractice claim but reversed with regards to the failure to obtain consent claim.

Discuss Your Case with a Seasoned Rochester Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed by insufficient treatment in a hospital, it is prudent to discuss your case with a seasoned Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to determine if you may be able to pursue one or more claims for damages.  The dedicated attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping parties injured by medical malpractice in the pursuit of damages, and we will fight aggressively on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or at 585-653-7343 to set up a confidential and free meeting.

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