Medical Malpractice

If you or a family member has been injured due to the negligence of a doctor, dentist, chiropractor, hospital, nursing home, or some other health care professional, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, as well as damages for lasting effects of the negligent care.

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care providers makes an error in the care and treatment of a patient which causes an injury to that patient.

Examples of malpractice include:

  • Failure to diagnose the patient's condition
  • Failure to communicate a diagnosis to the appropriate person
  • Injuries that occur during surgery that are not normal complications of that surgery might
    occur even where there is no malpractice
  • Surgery on the wrong body part or the wrong side of the body
  • Surgical instruments and pads left inside of a patient after a surgery
  • Performing a procedure or surgery to which the patient did not consent
  • Failure to provide sufficient information to the patient so the patient can give informed consent
    to a procedure or surgery
    Prescribing or providing the wrong medication
  • Errors during childbirth which cause injury to the mother or child
  • Improper dental work
  • Bedsores in hospitals and nursing homes
  • Falls in hospitals and nursing homes which result from malpractice

There are three questions which must be answered in order to determine if there is a case:

  1. What is the standard of care for the defendant's profession, as well as his/her specialty within that line of work?
  2. Did the defendant commit a "breach" of the standard of care by failing to meet the established standard?
  3. Was this negligence a "proximate cause" of the injury? In other words, did the negligence contribute to an injury that otherwise may not have been sustained?

The first step in any case is to gather all the medical records and have them reviewed by another professional to answer these questions. They cannot be answered by a lawyer. New York law requires that another professional be consulted before any lawsuit filed, and the attorney must certify to the court that such a consultation was made. These doctors must be paid for this effort. Depending upon the nature of the case, Norman M. Block, P.C. will advance the fees necessary for that consultation.

Generally, doctors do not guaranty that any treatment will be successful. It is not necessarily malpractice if the treatment provided did not achieve the desired result. It is also not malpractice if a result occurred which might normally occur even if the doctor is very careful and follows all standards of care. These are called normal complications of the procedure, and should be disclosed to the patient before the procedure is performed.

Lack of Informed consent is an issue which often arises. The patient is entitled to receive full information about any procedure, the benefits and risks of that procedure, the benefits and risks of other acceptable procedures, and the consequences of not having any procedure. As a patient, you have the right to make decisions about your treatment, and the medical professional is required to provide the necessary information for you to make that decision. If a procedure is done and a bad result occurs which does not indicate malpractice, but the possibility of that result was not disclosed to the patient, a malpractice suit may be brought.

Because of the expense in bringing a malpractice case, only those cases where serious injuries have resulted can be considered. There are fortunately many times when a medical error can be corrected without any injury to the patient. For example, if a doctor did not diagnose a fracture, and one week later another doctor finds there was a fracture, there my be breach of the standard of care. However, if the second doctor successfully treats the fracture, and there is no injury because of the one week delay, there is not a viable lawsuit.

Medical malpractice claims can be brought for errors in diagnosis or treatment, surgical errors and birth injuries, as well as general negligence including falls from hospital beds, examining tables or in hospital showers, and rough handling by hospital or nursing home staff.

Contact Norman M. Block, P.C. to discuss your case. We will review your case in a free consultation to determine if you have a viable claim. If so we will negotiate with the health care provider and their insurance company, bringing suit to protect your rights.