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New York Court Discusses Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Claims Alleging Lack of Informed Consent

Medical malpractice claims do not only arise out of improperly performed procedures or a delay in diagnosis or treating an illness. Rather, a patient can seek damages from a physician if the patient is harmed by the physician’s failure to obtain the patient’s informed consent prior to providing treatment. In a recent case decided by a court in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the standards for determining whether a practitioner deviated from the standard of care in an informed consent claim were discussed.  If you sustained damages due to your doctor’s failure to advise you of the risks of a procedure or treatment, you should confer with a trusted Rochester medical malpractice attorney regarding what redress may be available for your harm.

Facts and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, who was suffering from prostate cancer, sought treatment from the defendant oncologist. The defendant treated and counseled the plaintiff. The plaintiff subsequently suffered debilitating side effects from the treatment that left him permanently disabled. He filed a medical malpractice claim against the defendant oncologist and defendant hospital, alleging that the defendant oncologist deviated from the standard of care in administering the treatment and that the defendant oncologist failed to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to the treatment. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff then filed a motion to have the verdict set aside as against the weight of the evidence.

Proving Deviation from the Standard of Care in Lack of Informed Consent Claims

The main issues on appeal were whether the court erred in precluding portions of the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony at trial and whether the plaintiff’s expert testimony was sufficient to establish that the defendant oncologist deviated from the standard of care. Ultimately, the court found that the evidence supported the jury’s findings in favor of the defendant and denied the plaintiff’s motion. Specifically, the court ruled that the defendant oncologist did not depart from the standard of care or fail to obtain the plaintiff’s informed consent prior to treatment.

The appellate court explained that the trial court properly precluded the plaintiff’s expert from testifying regarding what treatments should have been recommended to the plaintiff, as that was not an appropriate basis for an informed consent claim. Additionally, the court stated that simply because an expert opines that one treatment is preferable to another does not demonstrate that a doctor departed from a standard of care in recommending a medically accepted treatment. Thus, the court found there was no basis for setting aside the jury’s verdict.

Meet with an Experienced Rochester Malpractice Attorney

It is critical for all patients to understand the risks associated with a treatment before submitting to a course of care by an oncologist or another health care provider. If you sustained damages due to your doctor’s failure to inform you of the potential harm a treatment could cause, you should meet with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential claims. The dedicated attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers have ample experience helping injured parties in the pursuit of damages in medical malpractice claims and we will vigorously pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf. You can contact us at 585-653-7343 or via the form online to schedule a conference.

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