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New York Court Discusses Prohibition of Public Statements in Medical Malpractice Cases

In many instances in which a person has been harmed by medical malpractice, the harm occurs under circumstances that may be shocking to a layperson, causing anger and outrage. Thus, it is not uncommon for a defendant in a medical malpractice case to seek an order from the court prohibiting the parties from making statements to the public or media regarding the underlying facts of the case. Recently, a New York appellate court discussed the purpose of an injunction prohibiting public discussion of a case and when such an injunction is warranted, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her husband’s death was caused by emergency room malpractice. If you suffered harm, or lost a loved one, due to malpractice committed by emergency room care providers it is advisable to speak with a capable Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney to discuss your case and your potential claims.

Factual Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was shopping in a grocery store when he suffered a cardiac arrest. He was transported to the defendant hospital where he was taken to the code room of the emergency department and intubated. CPR, which the paramedics who transported the decedent had begun, was continued and a faint pulse was detected. The decedent was pronounced dead at 8:29 that evening. The plaintiff was notified of his death and she and other family members were taken into the code room.

It is alleged that the plaintiff observed the decedent breathing, making eye contact, and moving for the next two hours and forty minutes. Therefore, the plaintiff pleaded with the nursing staff and coroner to examine the decedent, which they declined to do. The decedent was eventually examined and found to be alive, after which he was transferred to another hospital. He underwent surgery but ultimately died. The plaintiff filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant. The defendant subsequently filed a motion to enjoin all parties from making public comments or speaking to the media regarding the facts of the case. The court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed.

Injunction to Prohibit Discussion of a Case

In order to enjoin parties from making public comments regarding the facts of a case, the defendants were required to establish that such comments would demonstrate a significant threat to defendants’ right to obtain a fair trial. Here, the court found that although the defendants met their burden, there was no evidence produced that any less restrictive measures would be as effective at safeguarding the defendants’ rights. Thus, the court stated that absent proof that such restrictions were necessary, a court should not restrict a party’s first amendment rights. As such, the court reversed the order.

Speak with a Skilled Malpractice Attorney

When people visit an emergency room, they expect to receive competent care. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to inadequate emergency room care you should speak with a skilled Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney to discuss your damages. The attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at assisting parties injured by medical malpractice in the pursuit of compensation and will work diligently to help you seek a favorable outcome. We can be reached through our online form or at 585-653-7343 to set up a confidential and free consultation to discuss your case.

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