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What Constitutes Medical Malpractice In New York

Posted on July 5, 2019 by Kelly Wolford

When you suffer from an injury, illness, or chronic health condition, you rely on your doctor and other medical professionals to provide the care and treatment you need. This includes running the appropriate diagnostic tests, interpreting the results properly, and pursuing the best course of action based on the specific circumstances surrounding your case. Failure to do these things can have serious ramifications, putting your health, your financial security, and your overall well being in jeopardy. In these situations, you may be entitled to compensation in a medical malpractice claim. The following sheds light on what constitutes medical malpractice in New York and how you can hold medical providers accountable for damages you suffer as a result. 

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice involves negligence on the part of your doctor or other medical providers. As a result of this negligence, medical mistakes and errors can occur. Unfortunately, these types of cases are not isolated incidents. According to studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University and other leading public safety researchers, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. 

Medical malpractice claims may involve your doctor, a hospital, outpatient testing facilities, or other medical providers. Mistakes or errors can occur when dealing with general practitioners or specialists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, radiologists, nurses, medical technicians, or other hospital employees and healthcare support staff. Among the most common types of mistakes cited in medical malpractice claims include: 

  • Missed or incorrect diagnosis, resulting in dangerous delays in treatment;
  • Failure to run the appropriate medical testing or to properly interpret the results;
  • Surgical mistakes and errors, such as operating on the wrong body part, performing a procedure on the wrong patient, or forgetting to remove items such as surgical sponges;
  • Health care-associated infections, caused by lack of proper cleaning and disinfecting  practices;
  • Infections caused by not properly caring for wounds or by leaving patients on IVs or respirators for too long;
  • Medication errors, resulting in overdoses, allergic reactions, or dangerous drug interactions;
  • Failure to provide the appropriate follow up care. 

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice In New York

Under New York State law, medical providers owe a duty of care to their patients. Medical malpractice claims may be brought against health care providers for failing to take the appropriate steps in diagnosing and treating patients, for taking actions that end up putting patients at risk, or for otherwise failing in their oath to ‘do no harm.’ In these situations, patients generally have up to two years and six months after mistakes or errors are made to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault party in court.  However, the time period may be shorter or longer depending on the facts of an individual case.

In order to be successful in your medical malpractice claim, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists four legal elements that must be present: 

  • The person or institution named in the lawsuit owed a duty of care to the patient;
  • There was a clear breach of this duty, which can be documented by evidence;
  • The patients suffered injuries or the worsening of an illness as a direct result of the breach of duty;
  • The patient suffered economic and/or non-economic damages as a result, for which they are entitled to compensation.  

Your Rights In New York Medical Malpractice Claims

When medical mistakes and errors happen, it can have major impacts on the patient and their family members.  Mistakes and errors can lead to medical conditions progressing to the point of being life-threatening and patients often require extensive and ongoing medical care. Their quality of life can be impacted and disabilities that result may prevent them from working or performing even simple daily activities. In the worst case scenario, medical malpractice can hasten the patient’s death. 

In these situations, you may be entitled to compensation either through an insurance settlement or by filing a lawsuit against the provider at fault. Damages in New York medical malpractice claims may include: 

  • Medical expenses, which includes the current costs and the future costs you are likely to incur for medical testing, treatment, follow up visits, medication, physical rehabilitation, and medical devices. 
  • Lost wages, which includes losses in future income and benefits due to lingering disabilities;
  • Pain and suffering, which compensate you for your physical pain as well as the mental anguish and loss of enjoyment in life suffered by you and in some cases your family members. 

Let Us Help You today

At Powers & Santola, LLP, we provide aggressive legal representation to hold health care providers accountable for negligence. With offices to serve you in Albany, Rochester and Syracuse, contact our New York medical malpractice attorneys and schedule an initial consultation today.