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New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog

How can New York hospitals prevent wrong-site surgeries?

Most New York physicians would probably agree that wrong-site surgery is one of the most preventable of surgical errors. The term "wrong-site surgery" includes not only surgery performed on the wrong part of the body, but also the wrong surgical procedure and surgery on the wrong patient. Wrong-site surgery is a relatively rare occurrence, but there is also evidence that as few as ten percent of cases are reported. The number of reported cases has, however, been increasing in recent years.

When wrong-site surgery does occur, it can result in devastating consequences for the patient. Not surprisingly, a high percentage of these cases result in malpractice claims. Eighty-four percent of wrong-site orthopedic surgeries have led to malpractice recoveries.

Delayed diagnosis of aortic dissection may be malpractice

Aortic dissection is a serious condition affecting the aorta, the large blood vessel leading directly off the heart.. New York residents who have lost a loved one to aortic dissection may wonder if the condition was diagnosed early enough.

Aortic dissection occurs when the inner layer of the aorta tears. As blood enters the tear, the inner layer can separate from the middle layer of the aorta. Ultimately, the outside wall of the aorta may rupture, a condition that often leads to death from internal bleeding. Men in their 60s and 70s are most at risk.

What is New York's medical malpractice statute of limitations?

When an individual is injured by medical malpractice in the State of New York, prompt action is critical. New York has strict time deadlines, known as statutes of limitation, for commencing civil lawsuits. The statutes of limitation vary depending on the nature of the lawsuit. The court will dismiss a lawsuit that is commenced after the applicable statute of limitations has expired.

In New York, the general statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is two years and six months. This 30-month limit begins to run either on the date of the malpractice, or the date of last treatment if there was continuous treatment for the condition that gave rise to the malpractice.

Erb's palsy can have lifelong consequences

Birth injuries in New York hospitals are sometimes the result of medical malpractice. When medical negligence occurs during the birth of a baby, the result can be lifelong injury and disability for the child. One of the more common birth injuries that can result from mistakes made during delivery is Erb's palsy, also known as brachial palsy. This condition occurs in about two of 1,000 deliveries.

Erb's palsy occurs when the brachial plexus is injured during birth. The brachial plexus is a set of nerves that run from the spinal cord through the arm, and which control the arm, hand and fingers. Erb's palsy can occur when there are problems delivering the baby's shoulder, a condition called shoulder dystocia. If too much pressure is put on the baby's neck, head or shoulders, the nerves of the brachial plexus can be stretched or torn. If tearing occurs, the resulting nerve damage can be permanent.

Delayed diagnosis of cancer leads to $10 million jury award

New York readers of this blog may be interested in a significant medical malpractice verdict rendered by a Maine jury earlier this month. In what may be the largest medical malpractice verdict in that state's history, the jury awarded a woman $10 million after a hospital employee failed to diagnose cervical cancer.

The woman had received regular Pap tests, pelvic examinations and other lab tests that should have alerted physicians to the presence of the disease, but a lab technician misread the test results and failed to find the abnormal cells. The jury found the woman had cancer by 2009, but repeated misreadings of the screenings delayed diagnosis until 2011, when another specialist discovered the malignancy.

When a failure to diagnosis breast cancer leads to tragedy

Breast cancer causes numerous deaths every year in New York. As with most forms of cancer, early diagnosis significantly improves a patient's chances of survival. Unfortunately, failure to diagnose breast cancer is an all-too-common occurrence and can lead to malpractice claims.

Doctors are not expected to cure every illness, and not every treatment will be successful. But, patients do have the right to expect that their doctor will meet certain generally accepted standards of competence. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to meet the accepted standard of medical care in that doctor's area of practice.

The high cost of medical malpractice

People in New York City may have read a recent news article which discusses the issue of medical malpractice and how it creates problems for doctors, hospitals, medical professionals, patients and the legal system alike. In a perfect world, medical mistakes would be quickly corrected and the victims made whole swiftly, but unfortunately the world of medical malpractice litigation requires a good amount of time and money for clients who want to hold negligent healthcare providers responsible for the injuries they cause.

Every year, about one out of every 12 doctors will be targeted by a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is a high number, and it shows that there is an unacceptable risk of any given patient receiving negligent medical care. But, proving doctor errors can be a huge hurdle for the average patient who doesn't have a tremendous amount of time and money set aside for legal expenses, expert witnesses and courtroom litigation.

U.S. still far behind other countries in infant mortality

Residents in New York might be interested in an important but disturbing report that was issued by the U.S. Center for Disease Control in 2014. According to the National Vital Statistics Report, the U.S. is lagging far behind other developed nations when it comes to the infant mortality rate.

This report suggests that Japan and Finland have the lowest infant mortality rates of all nations at 2.3 per 1000 live births. But the shockingly the U.S. rate is nearly three times as high at 6.1. This puts the U.S. behind nearly every country in Europe.

Parents of children injured at birth need someone to call

There may be nothing quite as tragic and heartbreaking as an innocent newborn who is injured or killed when something goes wrong during childbirth. For parents, losing a child or watching their child suffer life-altering injuries is a devastating experience that can last a lifetime. Dealing with the grief is an ongoing process, but to make matters worse, for parents in this situation, life goes on and there are still bills to pay.

After experiencing the trauma and having to deal with the aftermath of a complication during childbirth, parents may face a child with serious physical and mental trauma, as well as related financial consequences. Some children may have lifelong disabilities, which require costly medical procedures and other specialized accommodations, all of which can cost millions over the life of a child. 

Are New York City home births safer than hospital births?

Expecting New York City parents or those who have recently had children may have heard a lot of debate about the safety of hospitals lately, and whether there are any advantages to giving birth in a home setting. While a growing number of New Yorkers support the benefits of home birth, a recent study has shown that the hospital might still be the safer alternative.

The reasons people believe home birth to be safer vary, but among the main concerns are the hospital environment, which may subject a mother and newborn to infection. The risk of infectious disease might be smaller at home, but the risk of other things going wrong also increases dramatically. In a home birth, if the mother faces some complication or birth injury, there is generally no access to a physician or specialist nearby, which can lead to devastating consequences.