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New York Court Discusses Standard of Care in Emergency Room Malpractice Case

In some instances in which a person presents to the emergency room, the source of the person’s symptoms may not be easily ascertainable, or more than one medical issue may be causing the person’s complaints. Thus, it is not uncommon for a person in the emergency room to be treated for multiple conditions. In cases in which a person suffering from numerous ailments sustains harm due to the negligent treatment of one ailment, the process of establishing liability can be complicated, as shown in a recent New York appellate ruling. If you were injured by inadequate care rendered in an emergency room, it is advisable to meet with a capable Rochester emergency room malpractice attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff presented to the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain. She was subsequently diagnosed with acute appendicitis, and a pelvic mass or ovarian cyst. She was admitted to the surgical department, where she underwent an appendectomy and an intraoperative gynecological consultation. The consultation revealed the plaintiff’s pelvic mass may be malignant, and she should be transferred to another hospital for treatment by an oncologist.

Reportedly, she was discharged, and a week later underwent exploratory surgery to remove her pelvic mass, during which it was determined she was suffering from ovarian torsion that required removal of her left ovary and fallopian tube. She then filed a lawsuit against the defendant emergency room physician, surgeon, and hospital, arguing that they were negligent in diagnosing her appendicitis as an acute condition,  failing to obtain a gynecological consultation prior to performing the appendectomy, and failing to treat the pelvic mass at the time of the appendectomy. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court denied. The defendant surgeon appealed.

Standard of Care in Treating Appendicitis

On appeal, the court stated that the defendant surgeon established his entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, via an expert affirmation stating that the defendant did not depart from the standard of care imposed in the treatment of appendicitis or cause the plaintiff’s harm. Specifically, the expert stated that after a patient is diagnosed with acute appendicitis, accepted, and good medical practice requires that the patient’s appendix be removed as soon as possible. The expert further stated that the defendant surgeon’s diagnosis and treatment of the pelvic mass were appropriate and that as an emergency room surgeon, the defendant reasonably relied on the assessment of the physician that performed the intraoperative gynecological examination that immediate surgical treatment of the pelvic mass was not required.

The court further noted that the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact in opposition to the defendant’s motion, by failing to provide an expert affidavit from a general surgeon. Thus, the court reversed the trial court ruling and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the surgeon.

Speak with a Seasoned Rochester Malpractice Attorney

If you were harmed by inappropriate treatment in an emergency room, it is prudent to speak with a seasoned emergency room malpractice attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to pursue.  The proficient attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will act as diligent advocates on your behalf, to help you seek the best result available in your case. You can reach us at 833-200-2000 or via the form online to set up a consultation.

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