Long Island Medical Malpractice Attorney
At the law firm of Rosenberg and Gluck, LLP, with offices in Holtsville and Garden City, New York, our Long Island medical malpractice attorneys have more than 80 years of combined experience representing individuals injured because of medical negligence. We offer the highest quality of medical malpractice legal services for clients throughout Suffolk County and Nassau County.
Hospitals, clinics, and medical professionals are required to meet an industry standard of care. Failure to meet accepted health care standards that results in serious injury is the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Understanding Standard of Care in Medical Malpractice Cases
The phrase “standard of care” in medical malpractice contexts refers to the quality of care in a given situation and if that care meets acceptable standards in the medical community. For example, if a particular medical condition has one thoroughly tested and universally approved treatment method, a doctor who treats a patient with this condition using some other treatment method may have failed to meet the acceptable standard of care. If the patient’s condition has one tested and reliable treatment method, there shouldn’t be any reason for a doctor to use another method without just cause. Typically, a medical malpractice case involves a physician or other healthcare professional who acted in a way that no other similarly skilled, reasonable physician or medical professional would have behaved in the same circumstances.
Most defendants in medical malpractice cases argue that their decisions were justifiable given the circumstances. The Long Island medical malpractice lawyers at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP are skilled at evaluating claims of medical malpractice and are able to assess the actions of medical doctors and professionals to determine whether they acted in accordance with acceptable standards.
In the United States, medical care is among the best in the world. Technology has paved the way for great strides in the medical field, from diagnostic tests, laser and microsurgery to pacemakers, heart stents, and breakthroughs in design and materials for artificial limbs. Despite the widespread availability and quality of medical services, there are times when doctors, nurses, technicians, surgeons, and pharmacists make mistakes. The harm patients suffer ranges from serious complications and death to the onset of debilitating injuries and illnesses unrelated to the original treatment sought.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Our Long Island personal injury lawyers have handled many medical malpractice cases. Common medical errors that harm patients and lead to medical malpractice lawsuits include, but are not limited to:
Emergency Room Mistakes
The emergency room is a chaotic place, and doctors must react very quickly to incoming patients. Even though the emergency room can be fast-paced, the doctors, nurses, and other staff working in the emergency room must still meet the appropriate standard of care for the treatment they render.
Failure to Diagnose
Doctors are supposed to assess a patient’s symptoms and then use a process of elimination to reach an accurate diagnosis. If a doctor fails to appropriately evaluate or consider a patient’s symptoms, or fail to perform a required test, they may be negligent for failing to diagnose the patient’s condition.
Sometimes a doctor delivers a diagnosis too late, and a patient’s condition worsens or develops into a new complication. Doctors must provide timely diagnoses or they risk causing harm to patients. A delayed diagnosis can cause a patient’s condition to deteriorate to dangerous levels, cause permanent damage, or open the patient up to additional medical complications. If a doctor is unable to reach a confident diagnosis in a timely manner, he or she needs to reach out to other medical professionals for their assistance to limit harm to patients.
One of the most common causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is misdiagnosis, or any instance of a doctor providing a patient with a flawed or incorrect diagnosis. Misdiagnosis is dangerous because a patient may undergo completely unnecessary surgeries, procedures, or treatments that often cause more harm than good. Not only is the inaccurate treatment often ineffective, but the patient’s actual issue likely remains unaddressed for longer than necessary.
Medications can curb the unpleasant symptoms of many medical conditions and help manage pain, but medications are also incredibly dangerous in some situations. Doctors, pharmacists, and pharmaceutical manufacturers must ensure their products perform as they intended and that patients receive appropriate prescriptions in the correct dosages.
The operating room is often full of tension, especially during complicated or dangerous procedures. Surgeons have extensive training to perform their duties, and it is essential for them to arrive at every surgery prepared. Surgical errors can refer to cases where surgeons have left medical devices such as forceps and clamps inside of patients, failed to perform a procedure correctly, operated on the wrong side of the body or body part, or performed the wrong procedure on the patient.
Most surgeries and many medical procedures require anesthesia. Anesthetics work in different degrees, from local anesthesia that only affects a small area of the body such as a hand or the mouth to regional anesthesia that can render a whole arm or a large portion of the body numb. In addition, general anesthesia renders a patient completely unconscious.
Anesthesia errors are particularly dangerous for many reasons. If a patient has an anesthesia allergy or sensitivity to a drug a doctor used in a procedure, it can have negative or even fatal consequences. Anesthesiologists must also monitor patients’ vital signs continually during general anesthesia. Even small fluctuations in vital signs can indicate serious problems. These professionals are also responsible for ensuring patients receive the correct dosages of their anesthetics.
Some people have allergies to medication. Due to potential allergies, there are alternatives to virtually every medication. Doctors and all other healthcare professionals need to ensure their patients are not allergic to the drugs they prescribe. Additionally, doctors must ensure a patient’s medications do not interfere with the patient’s other medical conditions and concerns. For example, the usual prescription for a patient’s medical problem may interact with the blood pressure medication the patient already takes, making an alternative treatment necessary. Doctors must account for a patient’s full medical history, other medications, and drug sensitivities when prescribing medications.
An “incorrect procedure” is a blanket term that can apply to any situation in which a doctor fails to take the acceptable action for the circumstances or performs an action that is inappropriate for the circumstances. Incidents that fall under the label of “incorrect procedures” include instances of gross negligence, such as reading an x-ray backward and amputating the wrong limb, or surgical errors, such as removing a patient’s appendix right away after the patient complained of stomach pain but without confirming appendicitis was the issue.
Establishing Malpractice Liability
It is important to bear in mind, not all medical errors or injuries provide grounds for a medical malpractice claim in Long Island. Some illnesses and diseases are difficult to diagnose and others have no cure.
However, when a patient is harmed while receiving medical care, a malpractice lawsuit may be an option to recover damages, if liability can be proven. Medical malpractice suits are one of the most time consuming and costly types of personal injury claims. An intensive investigation, a concerted team effort, and superb legal skills are required to build a substantive case.
The Long Island medical malpractice attorney you choose to represent you will be the most important first step in pursuing recovery of damages and obtaining positive results.
Limitations for Filing Medical Malpractice Claims in New York
Like any other lawsuit, a medical malpractice claim must meet the state’s statute of limitations or time limit for filing legal actions. In New York, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is generally two years and six months. Typically, the statute of limitations begins counting on the date the healthcare professional committed the malpractice. However, sometimes the effects of medical malpractice take time to manifest and do not become apparent for quite some time. New York allows for limited circumstances when the statute of limitations begins on the “date of discovery,” or the date the victim noticed the effects of the medical malpractice. With regard to a cancer misdiagnosis, the statute of limitations begins to run when the patient knew or should have known, of his or her cancer diagnosis. Also, medical malpractice cases involving a foreign object left inside a patient’s body has either one-year from the date the foreign object was discovered, or two years and six months from the date the malpractice occurred, whichever is longer.
There are other facts which can affect these time limits, including whether the malpractice occurs during a continuing course of treatment for the condition. Additionally, the time limit to bring a case is more limited when dealing with a municipal medical provider (such as a county hospital or EMT) or the State. To learn more about the limitations that could potentially impact your case, speak with a knowledgeable Long Island medical malpractice attorney.
Medical malpractice cases are different from other civil actions in that a plaintiff must provide the Court with a Certificate of Merit advising they have consulted with a physician who finds their claim to have merit.
Many times, patients believe a doctor made an error or did not do something correctly and therefore committed malpractice. Others simply assume that because they are in pain or had a bad outcome following treatment, their doctors must have been negligent in some way. The requirement that a plaintiff supply a Certificate of Merit is a way to ensure only cases with merit are pursued.
Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases
Many states have laws that cap or limit the amount of compensation plaintiffs may secure in medical malpractice lawsuits. Some state caps pertain to the total amount of compensation from all channels. For example, there is a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages in California medical malpractice lawsuits. Other states place limits on certain types of compensation. For example, a state may set a $200,000 limit on compensation for pain and suffering, or many states cap only “general damages” for things like loss of enjoyment of life and psychological trauma.
Each state has unique laws pertaining to damages in medical malpractice cases, so you should speak with a qualified Long Island medical malpractice attorney at Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP for more information about New York’s medical malpractice laws.
Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP | Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Long Island, NY
If you believe you have been harmed while undergoing surgery or receiving medical care and need legal help to evaluate your injury, you will find personal injury attorneys with unparalleled expertise derived from decades of experience at the law firm of Rosenberg & Gluck, LLP.
Our Suffolk County law firm offers a no cost, no obligation consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your medical malpractice claim. Call our Long Island medical malpractice attorneys at (631) 451-7900 or contact us online to arrange an appointment. If your injuries prevent you from traveling, home and hospital visits are available.