What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice Litigation

Medical mistakes happen all the time in every locale across the country. Medicine is often more of an art than a science and if you ask three doctors their opinions about a complicated matter, you very well may get three different answers. There are many simple mistakes that can cause some significant damages. For example, in one Ohio case, a woman had a 17 hour surgery, wherein the surgeon mistaken left a sponge inside the woman. There is no way to know how many sponges were used during the operation, but it only takes one for the surgeon to leave in a patient to harm him/her. She had to endure several additional surgeries to try and have the sponge removed and she ultimately passed as a result of complications allegedly as a result of the sponge left inside of her. In another case a woman went into the hospital for surgery on her colon and soon had to have her legs amputated. The stories can be true tear jerkers; your heart goes out to them. At the same time, it is the result of mistakes, not usually from an intention to harm, instead with the intention to heal. At the same time the law requires that the victim be made whole as a result of these mistakes that cost so much and not in just physical pain and suffering, but mental anguish and the effect that these mistakes may inflict on the family.

To prove a case for medical malpractice in New York, you need to prove several things:  

  • That you were under the care of a physician, who owed a duty to treat you in accord with standard of care expected of physicians of that specialty; and
  • That physician breached that duty of care expected of physicians of that individual specialty; and
  • The breach caused damages to the plaintiff; and
  • You have specifically identifiable damages for which you are entitled to be compensated

  While it is not an individual element of a medical malpractice case, a plaintiff must also produce a certificate of merit signed by another physician that states that the defendant physician breached a professional standard of care. Common grounds for malpractice include failure to diagnose, surgical errors, failure to warn of known risks of a specific procedure as well as failure to monitor. It is not enough that a plaintiff makes general, vague allegations of malpractice, instead they have to specifically plead which mistakes the physician made. Whenever you can, it is always best to check the background of your physician, since once a doctor was sued once, there is a greater chance that they will be sued again. If you believe you sustained damages as a result of a medical mistake, you must consult with a law firm experienced in medical malpractice matters. The law firm of Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC has experience in these matters and knows that you times like these requires compassion, understanding and ethical representation. You can reach us at 212-397-1000 or fill out our online contact form so someone can contact you.