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Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional breaches their duty of care to a patient, resulting in injury or death. Fortunately, these cases are fairly rare, but when they do occur the consequences can be devastating.

A variety of situations can lead to a medical malpractice claim.  The situations range from a doctor leaving a sponge or foreign object in a patient’s body during an operation to failing to tell a patient that a prescribed drug might cause heart failure.  Common New York medical malpractice categories include:

1.  Misdiagnosis: Missed or delayed diagnoses are major causes of malpractice complaints. When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition or fails to diagnose a condition for some period of time, the patient could miss treatment opportunities that might have presented serious harm or death. Indeed, a misdiagnosis could lead to the prescription of treatments that are not appropriate for the patient, also potentially resulting in harm. The key to such a case is showing what the treating doctor did wrong and how a competent doctor should have gone about diagnosing the condition. If a reasonably skillful and competent doctor would not have made the same mistake under the same circumstances, then the treating doctor may be liable for malpractice.

  • The five most commonly misdiagnosed diseases or conditions are infections, tumors or masses inside the body, heart attack, a blood clot in the lung and heart disease.

2.  Improper treatment: If a doctor treats the patient in a way that no other competent doctor would, the patient could have a medical malpractice claim. Similarly, it may also be malpractice if the doctor selects the appropriate treatment but administers it incompetently.

3.  Failure to warn a patient of known risks: Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment. This is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure.

4.  Surgical Error: Occasionally, a surgeon might make a mistake in the operating room. A surgeon might make negligent errors during the surgery itself, like puncturing an organ or blood vessel, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical equipment inside the body. Alternatively, nursing staff could be negligent in postoperative care, resulting in giving the wrong medications, using improper procedures that could lead to infection, or failing to give the patient adequate instructions for their own postoperative recovery needs.

5.  Child Birth, Pregnancy and Labor. So much can go wrong during a pregnancy and delivery that, even in the twenty-first century, medical negligence affecting both the mother and/or child during pregnancy and childbirth is still a problem. Some of the leading types of medical malpractice during pregnancy and childbirth are due to the following medical problems:

      • Excessive and unexplained vaginal bleeding
      • Placental abnormalities (placenta previa or placental abruption)

      • Mother’s gestational diabetes

      • Excessively long labor that causes injury to the mother and the baby

      • Hemorrhage of the mother during pregnancy or labor

      • Surgical negligence during a C-section

      • Negligence in administering anesthesia during labor or a Caesarian section

      • Premature babies

      • Shoulder dystocia or other nerve injury of the baby during labor

New York State Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice

Each state set their own limits on how long a patient can wait to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. In the New York State, the statute of limitations is two and a half years from when the patient knew or should have known that an injury occurred and that it was likely due to medical malpractice.  If however, you are suing a municipal hospital, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days from when the patient knew or should have known that an injury occurred and that it was likely due to medical malpractice and must commence a lawsuit against the municipal hospital within one year and 90 days.

Time can be of the essence if you or a loved one has a possible medical malpractice claim. It is important to speak to an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a New York Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical malpractice lawsuits differ from other personal injury cases because they involve two intertwining areas of expertise: law and medicine. These cases are inherently complex and require the attention and skill of an attorney who is well-versed in both of these areas. The attorney you choose should:

  • Have a firm understanding of medicine

  • Be able to decipher medical documents

  • Know which experts to consult

  • Know which questions to ask

  • Be able to anticipate the tactics of the other side

If you have been injured due to a mistake by a doctor, nurse or other medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation to cover the costs.  In order to determine if you have a valid claim for medical malpractice you should contact The Law Offices of Effie Soter, P.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call us today at 646-504-7384 or contact us via email to learn more about your rights so that we can obtain the best outcome for you