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New York City Medical Malpractice Law Blog

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.

If a patient dies, some of his or her rights may still survive

People in New York know that the only thing more complicated than the health care system might be the legal system. For people without legal training, court workings can appear to be a never-ending series of motions back and forth, depositions, discovery and other processes. This is especially true of legal actions which involve people who have been the victim of medical malpractice or other negligence on the part of a health care provider. While sometimes complicated and lengthy, the process is incredibly important for those who want to protect their rights and the rights of their loved ones, including the right to collect damages for the tragic loss of a loved one.

When a person dies as a result of fatal medical errors, their loved ones may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties who were responsible. Wrongful death claims allow close family members to be compensated for their own losses they suffered as a result of losing a loved one and breadwinner. Damages in wrongful death lawsuits can help with some of these losses, such as the income of the deceased person.

What are the elements of a wrongful death claim?

People in New York who have a friend or loved one who has died as the result of a medical procedure or health care incident gone wrong are probably looking for answers. When a person dies unexpectedly in conjunction with a medical procedure, their loved ones rightfully have concerns and suspicions. Those who want to hold the proper parties accountable for their loss may want to discuss their case with an experienced New York malpractice attorney, as they may have grounds to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible health care provider.

In order to bring a wrongful death suit, there are several elements that must be satisfied. For one, the party bringing the lawsuit must be a spouse, child or other immediate family member of the deceased victim. Secondly, the party must be able to show that they have been financially affected by the victim's death. Third, they must be able to prove that the person acted negligently. Finally they must prove that this negligence was the cause of the victim's death.

The epidemic of health care-related deaths continues

People in New York know that health care is consistently one of the most hotly debated issues in politics and around the family dinner table today. Rightfully so, since providing health care to a growing and aging U.S. population is a challenge with no easy answers. Unfortunately, millions of Americans may not be receiving adequate health care, and even among those who are, the prevalence of hospital negligence is still unacceptably high.

The statistics don't lie. According to the National Academy of Sciences, nearly 100,000 patients are killed by medical errors in U.S. hospitals every year. These deaths stem from all kinds of serious problems. Doctors are responsible for some of these deaths, with the most common problems being doctor misdiagnoses, surgical errors and communication failures. Other staff members in hospitals are also responsible for many deaths, including deaths caused by dirty facilities which can spread infection, mislabeling or the faulty administration of drugs and numerous other causes.

How can you find the best hospital for your medical procedure?

People in New York oftentimes have a lot of questions when it comes to finding the right healthcare provider for their medical needs, especially if these needs are substantial. People in need of healthcare for a major illness or disease want to ensure that they make the best decision for their unique, individual situation, but depending on their constraints, such as whether a particular hospital or provider is within their healthcare insurance network, their options may be somewhat limited.

Before choosing a healthcare provider, people should look to a number of resources to research their selection. One such resource is the annual US News and World Report ranking of hospitals, which provides information on specialists and how they stack up against others that may be available. One of the biggest concerns most people have is patient safety, as nobody should feel terribly comfortable relying on a provider who has a history of hospital negligence. They also want to pick a provider with a reputable medical staff and a history of successfully and adequately addressing patients' needs in a particular field.

Cruise ships liable if they provide poor medical care

People in New York may recall the controversial death of a former New York City police officer, who was taking the vacation of a lifetime with his family aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship destined for Bermuda back in 2011. The man, who was 82 at the time, fell and hit his head during an excursion, and was immediately brought to the ship's doctor's office. There, he was told to return to his cabin to rest by one of the ship's nurses. He did so, but it soon became abundantly clear that things were not well.

Shortly after the examination by the nurse, the man's condition began to worsen, and the man was brought back for further assessment. Unfortunately at least four hours had passed before a doctor ever examined him and ordered him to a hospital in Bermuda. All the while the man was suffering from massive internal bleeding, and by the time he was checked into the hospital, the damage had already been done and there was nothing the hospital could do to save him. The man died shortly thereafter.