I am going blind due to medical malpractice when I was a child and I am only 30 years old. I don’t know if I can do anything but I figured it would not hurt to ask. I want to know about the limitations that New York State has for cases like mine.
A Long Island man needed surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. A surgeon in Nassau County performed the surgery which was a success. The operation relieved the man of the excruciating pain in his neck. However, immediately after the surgery, the man experienced pain in his right shoulder. After two weeks of pain, he sought help from a new orthopedist who diagnosed a torn right labrum. He needed a second surgery to repair the injured shoulder.
To the man, the only explanation for the injury to his right shoulder was that the surgical team had injured him while he was under anesthesia on the operating table. In fact, the muscles of the body are very relaxed under anesthesia and it takes many staff members to move and position a patient. The man could have been injured due to the surgical team moving or positioning his body. Was this a case of medical malpractice?
A significant percentage of medical malpractice cases result from a failure to diagnose a condition and that failure to diagnose leads to later problems. I have recently taken on another failure to diagnose malpractice case here on Long Island. A man showed up at the local emergency room with symptoms of a stroke. Doctors admitted him overnight and ran a battery of tests, then discharged him with a referral to follow up with a cardiologist. Those doctors treated him over several months.
Despite these consults, the man later suffered a major stroke and went to a second Long Island hospital. At the second hospital, doctors performed a TransEsophageal echocardiogram (TEE) which immediately identified that the man had a hole in his heart and that condition had caused his strokes. A short time later, the man underwent surgery to repair the hole in his heart and eliminate that cause of a potential stroke. The failure of the first hospital and the cardiologist to run the TEE meant they failed to diagnose the hole in the man’s heart. Had they properly diagnosed the man’s condition, he would not have suffered the second, more serious stroke and he would have avoided the problems it has caused him. This failure to diagnose provides the grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Fifteen years ago, Justice Douglas McKeon began focusing on medical malpractice cases brought in the Bronx, New York. His focus and knowledge of medical malpractice issues has allowed him to settle cases earlier and at less cost for all involved. New York State has now announced that it will expand the specialized medical malpractice approach to Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Erie County. The State will train select judges on medical malpractice issues and allow them to focus on these cases. According to court records, each year New Yorkers file 4,000 medical malpractice cases (out of 19.4 million residents). You can read about it here and here.
New York Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau has touted the ability of these specially trained judges to cut court backlogs and to reduce court expenses. She also asserts that it will save money for doctors and insurance companies. Will it benefit the victims of medical malpractice?
Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards Bad for New York, Bad for Patients and Good for the Insurance Industry
As part of his proposal to control health care costs, Governor Cuomo has proposed capping medical malpractice payments for non-economic losses at $250,000. We have all heard the claims that medical malpractice premiums are driving doctors out of business and raising our health care costs, so caps would help everyone but the lawyers. Right? Wrong. In reality, limits on medical malpractice awards would have little impact on the medical malpractice insurance premiums, would not lower health care costs and would hurt many individuals. The only clear winner would be the insurance industry.
Better Medical Care, Not Limits on Medical Malpractice: How the Obstetrical Safety Program at New York Presbyterian Led to Better Care, Fewer Events of Medical Malpractice and Reduced Medical Malpractice Rates by 91 percent
There is a fierce debate going on in the New York State legislature over an attempt to limit medical malpractice cases by capping tort claims. The debate misses the point: instead of artificially capping medical malpractice cases, which limits the rights of victims, we should emphasize improvements in medical care that reduce medical malpractice.
I often hear from potential clients who ask if their case is large enough for me to take. Others wonder if I will devote enough attention to their case if it will not return a large award. I make a… Read More ›
Today is a poignant day as the settlement check arrived for a wrongful death case brought against a Queens nursing home. The case involved the death of a retired homemaker and grandmother, a woman deeply missed by her family. No… Read More ›
Perhaps the most painful cases to handle are those that involve the wrongful death of a loved one. Losing a loved one can be painful enough without grappling over a death that need not have happened. If a person dies due to the negligence or recklessness of another person or organization, the family may be able to seek compensation for the wrongful death.
Pursuing a wrongful death suit often brings a sense of justice and closure to a family who lost a loved one that they believe did not have to die. I have worked with clients who felt it was the right way to honor their lost family member by holding the person who caused their death accountable. Wrongful death suits hold defendants accountable for their actions and often force changes in policies, procedures or behavior to prevent future deaths.
This article provides an overview of wrongful death cases in New York.
In civil cases, the statute of limitations sets the deadline by which a person must start a lawsuit. The statute of limitations sets forth in law how long one has to initiate legal proceedings for another person or party’s wrongful conduct. For civil lawsuits such as medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and fall and personal injury cases, the statute of limitations determines how long one has to file a summons and complaint, which formally starts a lawsuit. Once the time specified in the statute of limitations expires, a person can no longer file a lawsuit on the matter unless granted an exemption.
There is no universal statute of limitations. The time period to bring a legal action will vary based on the type of case, the defendant and the court in which a case is brought. The statute of limitations varies significantly for cases against municipalities (such as the City of New York) and municipal agencies (such as the Metropolitan Transportation Agency – MTA). They also vary for cases brought by or on behalf of a minor.