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While plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases will typically allege that the defendant health care providers were negligent, there is a difference between what a plaintiff must prove to establish ordinary negligence as opposed to medical negligence. As such, if a plaintiff does not offer adequate proof in support of his or her distinct claims, it could result in a dismissal of the case. The distinction between negligence and medical negligence was the topic of a recent New York opinion issued in a nursing malpractice case. If you were hurt due to the careless actions of a nurse, you could be owed damages, and you should speak to a trusted Rochester nursing malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Decedent’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was admitted to a skilled nursing facility that was operated by the defendant federal government. During his admission, he fell and suffered injuries, which led to a worsening of his underlying conditions. He later returned to the nursing facility for a second stay. No changes were made to the facility’s fall protocols, and he fell a second time. He ultimately died from the injuries sustained in the fall. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, asserting both negligence and medical malpractice claims. The matter proceeded to a bench trial, after which the court issued findings of fact in which, in part, it described the differences between negligence and medical malpractice.

Ordinary Negligence Versus Medical Malpractice

The court noted that a threshold issue in the subject case was whether the plaintiff’s allegations against the defendant arising out of the decedent’s care at the skilled nursing facility asserted negligence or malpractice claims. The plaintiff argued she merely had to prove negligence to recover damages, while the defendant averred that she must prove medical malpractice, and as she failed to do so, she should be denied recovery. Continue reading

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Usually, medical malpractice cases arise out of harm caused by careless behavior. In some instances, however, a patient will suffer damages due to a physician’s acts that are not only intentional but also constitute criminal behavior. In such matters, the injured party may be able to establish negligence as a matter of law without the use of an expert. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion in which it discussed the plaintiff’s burden of proof in a case that involved a defendant convicted of a crime for the same acts that the plaintiff alleged constituted malpractice. If you sustained losses due to the harmful acts of a doctor, it is advisable to meet with a knowledgeable Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your potential claims.

Background of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant, who was a psychiatrist, treated the plaintiff for unspecified mental health issues. During the course of the treatment, the defendant engaged in sexual activity with the plaintiff. As a result, he was arrested and charged with rape and other crimes. A jury ultimately convicted him, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. The plaintiff then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging his actions constituted a departure from the standard of care, which caused the plaintiff to suffer harm. The plaintiff then moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Collateral Estoppel in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, collateral estoppel prohibits a party from relitigating an issue in a case that was resolved against the party in a prior proceeding where the party had a fair and full opportunity to contest the determination. The court explained that where a criminal conviction is based on facts identical to those at issue in a related civil matter, the plaintiff in the civil case can assert the doctrine of collateral estoppel to bar the convicted defendant from re-arguing the issue of his or her liability. Continue reading

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Generally, when plaintiffs file medical malpractice actions, they will include in their complaints any allegations of negligent acts committed by the defendants that ultimately led to their harm. While plaintiffs have the right to amend their pleadings during the course of litigation, the right is not limitless, and plaintiffs that do not act promptly may waive their right to pursue certain claims. The extent of the right to amend pleadings in a medical malpractice case was the topic of a recent New York opinion in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against a gastroenterologist. If you were hurt by a negligent physician, it is prudent to consult a capable Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent suffered from hepatitis B, but his illness was dormant. He was diagnosed with cancer and was then referred to the defendant for management of his hepatitis B during his cancer treatment. The defendant prescribed an antiviral medication to suppress the disease, but the decedent’s hepatitis B was reactivated following his chemotherapy.

Allegedly, the defendant continued to treat the decedent, who eventually was diagnosed with kidney and liver failure. He died due to the failure of multiple organs. The plaintiff, who was the decedent’s wife, filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant. Approximately a year after the lawsuit was filed, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff then filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint and the bill of particulars. The court granted the defendant’s motion and denied the plaintiff’s, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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In medical malpractice cases, it is not uncommon for more than one health care provider to be named as a defendant. In such instances, the plaintiff must independently prove the liability of each defendant, and merely because there is sufficient evidence to hold one provider accountable does not mean that all will be deemed liable. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a medical malpractice matter in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims against one defendant but allowed the claims against another defendant to proceed. If you were injured by incompetent medical care, it is in your best interest to meet with a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyer regarding your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was cared for by the defendant internal medicine physician and the defendant pulmonologist. She ultimately died of lung cancer that had metastasized. The plaintiff then filed a complaint asserting medical malpractice claims against the defendants, arguing that their failure to diagnose and treat the decedent’s cancer led to her demise. The defendants each filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion as to the defendant internal medicine doctor but denied it as to the defendant pulmonologist. The plaintiff and defendant pulmonologist appealed.

Standard of Review for Summary Judgment Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases

On appeal, the court explained the standard for review for summary judgment motions in medical malpractice cases. In order to demonstrate a prima facie case of liability in a medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff has to prove that the defendant departed from the accepted practice of medicine and set forth evidence showing that the departure was the proximate cause of the harm alleged. Continue reading

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A medical malpractice lawsuit, like most civil claims, must be pursued in a timely manner; otherwise, the injured party may waive the right to recover damages. In some instances, though, plaintiffs that fail to file cases within the applicable statute of limitations may nonetheless be able to proceed with their claims if they can show that the statute was tolled. In a recent opinion issued in a medical malpractice case, a New York court discussed tolling of the statute of limitations for harm caused by foreign objects left in a person after surgery. If you suffered harm due to errors committed during surgery, it is advisable to speak to a Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to determine your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff visited the emergency department of the defendant hospital when she was ten years old with complaints of abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with appendicitis and underwent an emergency appendectomy which was performed by the defendant. Fourteen years later, she instituted a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging that foreign objects were left inside of her body following the surgery, causing her to suffer reproductive and gastrointestinal issues, and pain. The defendants moved to have the plaintiff’s claims dismissed, arguing that she failed to pursue them within the time provided by the applicable statute of limitations.

Tolling of the Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

Under New York law, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim is typically two years and six months from the date the cause of action accrued. There is an exception, though, for cases that arise out of the discovery that a foreign object was left in the body of the patient. In such instances, the action may be commenced within one year of the date of the discovery of the foreign object or the revelation of facts that would lead to such discovery, whichever is earlier. Continue reading

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Doctors owe their patients a duty to provide the care expected of a reasonable practitioner working in the same specialty. They are not, however, typically expected to render treatment that exceeds the scope of their practice area. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against a doctor specializing in pulmonology. If you sustained damages due to the careless acts of a physician, it is smart to meet with a dedicated Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to assess your rights.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the plaintiff visited the emergency room of the defendant hospital with complaints of intermittent high fevers and flu-like symptoms. An infectious disease doctor determined he was suffering from a viral illness of dengue fever but that it was unlikely he was suffering from malaria. He was admitted to intensive care, where he was treated by the defendant pulmonologist. Following a course of antibiotics and steroids, he was discharged. He received flu and pneumonia vaccines prior to discharge.

Reportedly, he visited the emergency department of another hospital a few weeks later with complaints of dizziness, where he was diagnosed with malaria. He was treated and discharged but returned ten days later and was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendants, alleging they were negligent in failing to diagnose him with malaria and for administering the flu shot. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims. Continue reading

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While most treatments and procedures are ultimately beneficial to patients, they also carry some degree of risk. As such, doctors must advise patients of the benefits and potential harm that could arise from a proposed plan of treatment, as well as any available alternatives, before providing the suggested care. If a doctor fails to do so and the patient suffers harm as a result, it may constitute grounds for a lack of informed consent claim. Recently, a New York court issued an opinion discussing what a plaintiff must prove to demonstrate liability for the failure to obtain informed consent in an oncology malpractice case. If you suffered losses due to a negligent doctor, it is prudent to speak to a skilled Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, which was conducted by the defendant gynecologic oncologist. Following the surgery, the plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing in part that the surgery was unnecessary, was improperly performed, and that the defendant failed to obtain her informed consent. The defendant moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Establishing Liability for the Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

Under New York law, to establish medical malpractice based on a lack of informed consent, a plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to disclose the reasonable alternatives to a treatment in question and failed to explain the foreseeable risks associated with a treatment, that a reasonable doctor working in the same specialty would have disclosed in a similar situation. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that a reasonable patient in the same situation would not have undergone the treatment in question if he or she had been fully apprised of the risks and alternatives. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the lack of informed consent proximately caused the harm suffered. Continue reading

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In all but the clearest of cases, what constitutes medical malpractice is generally not readily understood by the average juror. As such, medical malpractice cases typically hinge on expert testimony. Plaintiffs that fail to produce expert testimony, then, will likely have their cases dismissed, as they will be unable to demonstrate a breach of the standard of care. This was demonstrated in a recent New York opinion, in which the court dismissed a pro se plaintiff’s surgical malpractice claims via summary judgment, due to her failure to produce an expert affidavit. If you were harmed by a negligent surgeon, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to meet with a trusted Rochester medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your situation.

The Plaintiff’s Alleged Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff underwent a surgical procedure that was performed by the defendant, in which fat was transferred from her back, arms, and abdomen into other parts of her body. Following the procedure, she suffered pain in her right hip and bleeding. Additionally, she believed that pictures were taken of her when she was unconscious during the procedure. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging medical malpractice claims. After discovery was completed, the defendant moved for dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims by way of summary judgment. Upon reviewing the evidence presented, the court granted the defendant’s motion.

Proving Medical Negligence Under New York Law

The court explained that, in order to prove a medical malpractice claim in New York, a plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the standard of care accepted in the community and that the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm. Thus, if a defendant demonstrates that it did not depart from the standard of care or that any departure from the standard of care did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries, the defendant will be prima facie entitled to summary judgment. Continue reading

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Lung cancer is a devastating disease, and a delayed diagnosis can worsen the already poor prognosis many patients with lung cancer face. People who suffer harm because of a doctor’s failure to diagnose a disease may be able to recover damages via medical malpractice lawsuits. Just as a delay in providing an accurate diagnosis can cause a patient harm, delays in pursuing claims against a negligent provider can impair a plaintiff’s right to recover damages. The dangers of failing to file a complaint in a timely manner were discussed in a recent New York ruling in a case in which the defendant argued the plaintiff’s claims were time-barred. If your physician failed to provide you with a prompt diagnosis, you could be owed damages, and it is prudent to meet with a skillful Rochester medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Allegations

It is alleged that the defendants failed to diagnose the plaintiff’s lung cancer in May 2014. The plaintiff did not discover the failure until October 2019. She subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in March 2020, asserting negligence and lack of informed consent claims. The defendants argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations and moved to dismiss them. The plaintiff argued that a recent amendment to the statute of limitations applied, and therefore, her claims were not time-barred. The court ultimately agreed with the plaintiff and denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Time Limitations in Medical Malpractice Claims

In its analysis, the court explained that the prior version of the law setting forth the time limitations for pursuing medical malpractice claims required them to be filed within two years of the alleged malpractice. In 2018, however, the statute was amended to state that a plaintiff has two and a half years from the date he or she reasonably knows or should know that there is an injury that was caused by malpractice, or within two and a half years of the end of continuous treatment, whichever provides more time. Continue reading

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Sadly, many people seeking care in the emergency room of a hospital ultimately suffer devastating harm. The mere occurrence of a catastrophic injury does not necessarily prove medical malpractice has occurred, though. Instead, a plaintiff seeking damages for medical negligence must produce an expert report showing that the evidence of record supports the claims alleged. Plaintiffs that fail to produce expert testimony that adequately demonstrates malpractice may have their claims dismissed, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion. If you sustained damages because of the negligence of an emergency room doctor, you might be able to recover compensation, and it is advisable to meet with a dedicated Rochester emergency room malpractice lawyer to assess your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Care

Allegedly, the plaintiff visited the defendant’s emergency department for the treatment of what appeared to be a transient ischemic attack. He was evaluated and discharged the following day. A week later, he suffered a stroke. He then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the care he was provided in the emergency room was negligent and resulted in his subsequent harm. After discovery was completed, the defendant moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff opposed the motion, but the court granted it regardless. The plaintiff then appealed.

Evidence Needed to Prove Medical Malpractice

A defendant moving for summary judgment in a medical malpractice case must establish, prima facie, that there was no deviation from the standard of care accepted in the community or that any departure that occurred did not proximately cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries. In turn, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a triable issue of fact exists on one or more of the elements on which the defendant has made a prima facie showing. Continue reading

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