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New York Court Discusses Medical Malpractice Claims Against Federally Funded Hospitals

Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated in general and can become especially complex when they involve claims against facilities that receive funding from the federal government, as they involve additional requirements. The consequences of skirting such obligations were shown in a recent hospital malpractice case in New York in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims due to his failure to comply with procedural requirements. If you were hurt by negligent care in a hospital, it is critical to retain a dedicated Rochester hospital malpractice attorney to help you protect your right to pursue damages.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the defendant facility, which receives federal funding, with complaints of an inability to urinate. While he was at the defendant facility, he was on a metal bed when the frame fell apart, causing him to fall and sustain a hip fracture. As a result, he had to undergo surgery and suffered from reduced mobility and an altered mental status. He filed an administrative claim relating to his injury with the appropriate federal agency. The agency did not respond to his claim, however. He then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth claims of medical malpractice and negligent hiring. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies in compliance with the FTCA (Federal Tort Claims Act) and that due to this failure, the court could not exercise jurisdiction over the matter.

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Under the FTCA, a plaintiff must present a claim to a federal agency, and the claim must be denied before the plaintiff can proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit. The court explained that, as the goal of this requirement is to avoid unnecessary litigation, the plaintiff must also provide the agency with sufficient information with which to investigate the claim and evaluate its worth. In other words, the claim must be detailed enough to fulfill the purpose of the FTCA, which is to allow the federal government to facilitate the fair resolution of tort claims. The court further explained that the requirement that a plaintiff adequately present his or her claim is a jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived.

In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff failed to sufficiently describe his medical malpractice and negligent hiring claims when he filed his claim with the federal agency. Specifically, the court noted that while the claim filed with the federal agency only discussed the plaintiff’s fall, the plaintiff’s lawsuit asserted numerous allegations regarding the skill and abilities of the doctors that treated him while he was at the defendant facility. As such, the court found that the plaintiff neglected to exhaust his administrative remedies, thereby depriving the court of jurisdiction. Thus, the court granted the motion.

Speak to a Trusted Rochester Attorney

Patients harmed by negligent medical care in a hospital may be able to recover compensation, but only if they comply with the proper procedures. If you sustained injuries at a hospital due to the carelessness of the staff members, you should speak to an attorney about your possible claims. The trusted Rochester hospital malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers can evaluate your losses and assist you in seeking any damages you may be owed. You can reach us at 585-653-7343 or via the form online to set up a conference.

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