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New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Can injured people represent themselves in civil court?

People in New York are put in a difficult situation when they are injured or harmed by another person's actions. On the one hand, they may face costly medical bills, may have had to miss work, and may suffer serious and debilitating health concerns that threaten their lifestyle or even their life. On the other hand, they may not know how to get the relief they need. The legal system can be complicated, but many people fear that hiring an attorney is too expensive. Every New York citizen has the right to represent themselves in court, but in a complex case, this could be a major mistake. Where should a person in this situation even begin?

In complicated medical malpractice cases, the answer is simple. People should consult with an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney to find out their options and determine how to proceed. In most cases, attorneys understand that accident victims may not have the means to hire an attorney to handle complex litigation, which is why many attorneys may be willing to enter into a contingency agreement, in which the attorney is given a percentage of the awarded damages amount.

How do you know if you have been the victim of a doctor error?

When it comes to getting medical treatment, many New York City residents have serious reservations. After all, it basically boils down to trusting your life in the hands of a doctor, something most patients do not take lightly. People must trust a doctor to not only correctly diagnose a condition, but provide the right treatment. Nonetheless, what if something goes wrong? In addition, if something does go wrong, how will a person even know the cause?

These have been two of the major essential questions in the field of medical malpractice law since the inception of patients' rights. Most patients are not medically trained experts, so knowing, and then proving, that they have been the victim of malpractice can be a complicated process.

Database to give info on possible medical conflicts of interest

Decisions about health care are some of the most important choices New Yorkers will ever have to make in their lives. People should always have the right to a choice when it comes to providing health care for themselves and their families, but without the reliable information necessary to make informed decisions, many consumers are left at the mercy of doctors and medical staff who may not always have their best interests first and foremost.

With the objective of creating transparency for consumers, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been working on a database that will allow patients to review their health care providers to check for potential conflicts of interest that might compromise their ability to provide unbiased treatment. In short, the database will show consumers how their physicians are paid, and whether or not that health care entity has ties to drug and medical suppliers which might lead them to order more costly medical procedures or medication.

Man awarded $2.3 million by jury in malpractice suit

New York readers may have heard about a 52-year-old man who checked into Nyack Hospital for a routine MRI, only to suffer a serious infection that required further hospitalization and left the man with debilitating injuries to his hip. After a three-week trial, a jury in Rockland County has awarded the man $2.3 million in damages.

The man claimed the infection began when he received a routine injection prior to undergoing an MRI. He came back a few days later for a test, but doctors allegedly didn't realize that the man was suffering from a serious and painful bacterial infection that damaged his bones. Two days after being released, the man was rushed back to Nyack Hospital at 5 a.m. for treatment of the infection. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. The man, who made his living as a construction worker, may never be able to work again. In addition, a lot of the leisure activities he used to enjoy are now painful ordeals.

Lawsuit alleges doctor errors killed woman after surgery

People in New York may have heard about a recent medical malpractice lawsuit that was brought by the family of a woman who died after surgeons made grievous errors that cost the woman her life. The case has recently gone to trial, and, depending on the outcome, the plaintiff could receive a significant award for the death of their beloved family member.

The incident began back in February of 2009, when a team of doctors operating on the woman left a sponge inside the woman's abdomen. After the botched surgery, the doctors operated on the woman to try to remove the sponge twice in the following months, but failed both times. During one of these failed operations, her spleen was injured.

$16.7 million malpractice award in misdiagnosis lawsuit

People in New York may have heard about a recent medical malpractice lawsuit in Massachusetts that ended in a jury's decision to award the daughter of a lung cancer victim $16.7 million after doctor negligence failed to properly diagnose the cancer. The verdict is the largest sum in a medical malpractice case in the state so far this year.

The case began back in 2006, when a woman went to the emergency room with a bad cough. Doctors there ordered a chest X-ray, and then diagnosed her with a respiratory infection and sent her home with some antibiotics for her condition. About a year later the woman returned with the same symptoms, which had grown even worse during that time. She and her family were shocked to find out at that time that she was suffering from advanced lung cancer and had only months to live. She died of lung cancer only seven months later at the age of 47.

Painkiller use, medication errors still a national problem

People in New York may have seen a recent news article about the new epidemic in modern medicine, the reliance on and use of prescription painkillers by millions of Americans. According to the White House, painkiller abuse is a growing national crisis, yet doctors and leaders within the FDA stress the importance of keeping these potentially dangerous drugs accessible to the millions of Americans who depend on these drugs for relief from chronic pain. According to the FDA Commissioner, this group includes roughly 100 million people. In fact, the painkiller hydrocodone is the most frequently prescribed medicine in the U.S.

On the other hand, these drugs are incredibly dangerous, leading to more than 16,000 deaths each year. In fact, these drugs cause more deadly overdoses than both cocaine and heroin. This can be due to dosing errors or opioid dependence, as these painkillers have a well-documented potential for abuse, especially by those who have built up a tolerance to them over time.

Woman forced into C-section birth at hospital

People in New York may have heard about a very controversial birth that took place at Staten Island University Hospital almost three years ago, and how the mother giving birth to her third child was allegedly forced into having a C-section instead of a traditional birth. The story is still making headlines today, as the woman and her legal counsel have brought a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who treated her that day and allegedly forced her to undergo the cesarean section procedure against her will.

New York requires hospitals to publish the rate of pregnancies that involve a C-section, and the statistics show that the procedure is being relied upon more and more. In 2011, the statewide rate of C-section births was almost 35%, even though the World Health Organization recommends a rate of no higher than 15%. Nationwide, the U.S. average is over double this recommended rate.

Woman who lost her legs gets $62 million verdict

People in New York may have heard about a Brooklyn woman who endured a medical nightmare and her hard-fought battle for justice against the doctors whose malpractice cost her the use of her legs. That battle has now come to a conclusion with a resounding victory for the woman, who was awarded $62 million in damages after a jury found that the hospital and three of the doctors who treated her were guilty of medical malpractice. Earlier this month, a New York Supreme Court Justice upheld the verdict as supported by competent evidence, ruling against the defendants' motion for a new trial.

The victim, a 33-year-old single mother, had gone to Winthrop University Hospital in Long Island for a gynecological procedure, but things quickly took a terrible turn for the worst when doctors accidentally punctured her colon. These doctor errors led to a massive infection that overtook the woman's body, nearly killing her. Her worsened condition continued until her heart stopped three times, and frantic doctors amputated both of her legs in an attempt to stop the spread of the infection. Her life was saved by a thread, but the procedure left her with serious hearing damage and no legs from the knee down.

Lawsuit alleges doctor errors in ADHD patient case

People in New York may have seen a recent news article about a family who lost their son to suicide two years ago. The family has now brought a court case against the psychiatrists responsible for his diagnoses and subsequent care. The young man, age 24, had been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD. ADHD is becoming an increasingly common diagnosis, particularly, amongst younger generations. However, the family's lawsuit begs the question whether the young man in this case, and potentially many thousands of other patients, have been misdiagnosed with ADHD.

The family of the deceased said they had no intention of filing a lawsuit until they saw the tremendous outpouring of support and acknowledgement from other families in the exact same situation. After seeing that the mistreatment and misdiagnosis of ADHD had harmed so many lives, they decided to take action. They filed a lawsuit against the two doctors, claiming a number of doctor errors. The lawsuit alleges that they misdiagnosed him, got him hooked on an inappropriately prescribed drug, failed to monitor him and never communicated about his care between each other.