May 19 2016

New York State Ranked Highest for Malpractice Award Payouts

For the third consecutive year, medical malpractice lawsuits paid out more in New York last year than in any other state. Recently, the medical malpractice insurer Diederich Healthcare released its annual report detailing which states within the United States have the highest and lowest medical malpractice award payouts. Malpractice payouts started to rise in 2013 and have continued to increase at a steady pace since then. The 2016 findings were based on analysis of the medical malpractice payouts in 2015 as recorded by the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Since 2013 New York State has ranked the highest in the U.S. for its total payout amount. This year, New York held its first-place standing with $711,718,250 total malpractice awards paid out ($35.95 per capita).

Payment amounts varied based on the type of malpractice allegation and severity of outcome. The malpractice allegations that reaped the highest payouts involved diagnosis, surgery and treatment while obstetrics, medication and anesthesia were among the lowest. Malpractice cases where death was the outcome accounted for the highest payment amounts at 30 percent of the total. Significant permanent injury ranked second highest with 18 percent, and major permanent injury and quadriplegia, brain damage and lifelong care tied for third highest at 16 percent.

Award payouts also varied based on gender and age demographics. Females accounted for 52 percent of the total payments, whereas men accounted for 47 percent. Middle-aged patients were ranked the highest for total award amounts.

If you have been injured due to a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve.  Call (914) 761-1133.

May 12 2016

The Effects of Traumatic Birth Syndrome

According to medical researchers specializing in the care and treatment of newborns, there has been a rise in traumatic birth syndrome — the effects of which could adversely affect a newborn’s well-being.

Traumatic birth syndrome describes the presence of trauma-induced skull and spinal damage and spinal misalignment as a result of the birth process. The trauma on the newborn is magnified by the supine position of the mother (lying on her back), the force she applies to push the baby out, the use of drugs to ease the mother’s pain and induce labor, and the use of surgical interventions. After the birth, the baby may experience vertebral subluxation.

During the pushing stage of labor, the spine may be injured as the fetus is compressed and pushed down the birth canal. The main cause of subluxation is the pulling, twisting and compression of the infant’s spine during birth. If something alters normal birth, subluxations will occur at the greatest point of stress (the upper and lower cervical vertebrae). In severe cases, these can result in more obvious clinical nerve damage (such as paralysis), but more frequently subluxations are unnoticed by physicians and parents until later in the child’s life.

Children with traumatic birth syndrome may suffer from the following: colic, sleep disorders, symptoms of lowered immunity, poor development and more. Some subluxations have been found to be severe enough to lead to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

If your newborn child has been injured or suffered traumatic birth syndrome due to a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve. Call (914) 761-1133.

Apr 15 2016

When Email Is Evidence Of Continuous Treatment

Medical malpractice lawyers know that a lawsuit for medical, dental or podiatric malpractice must be commenced within two years and six months of the malpractice. Barring an exception or two, any case that is brought beyond this time limit will be dismissed.  That is why this limit, memorialized in New York CPLR 214-a, is known as a “statute of limitations.”

A frequently-invoked exception to the statute is the continuous treatment doctrine.   For example, if you were being treated by a doctor who injured you through a medical error, and you did not realize that his error had caused your injury until more than two and one half years after that error had occurred, you could still bring a lawsuit, if you can show that you continued being treated by the errant doctor, for the same general condition,  after the statute of limitations had expired.  In effect, your two and one-half year time limit would not begin to run until all treatment had stopped.

A medical malpractice victim’s best evidence when trying to make use of the continuous treatment doctrine is medical records that comprehensively document the treatment, and the nature of the doctor-patient relationship, in the wake of the incident (or incidents) of malpractice. Recently, however, New York State Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger, who sits in New York County, found that emails between the defendant podiatrist, and the plaintiff patient, were enough to extend the statute of limitations by two days–enough to save the plaintiff’s case from being dismissed. The case is Caesar v. Brookman, 800004/15, NYLJ 1202754584903, at *1 (NY Co. Sup. Ct, 3-30-16).  She interpreted the messages shared between plaintiff and defendant as being in the nature of further medical treatment, since the defendant podiatrist advised plaintiff to “take the antibiotics just in case” certain symptoms were indicative of infection, after plaintiff had written complaining of new symptoms suggestive of a serious infection, that were out of proportion to the reactions that a foreign object in plaintiff’s heel–his presenting complaint–would have caused. The defendant’s malpractice allowed a MRSA infection to develop in plaintiff’s foot, resulting in the need for surgery, which left the plaintiff with atrophied muscles, weight gain, severe levels of coronary plaque, and the need for biweekly visits to a wound care facility for months.

You might not expect a couple of emails to mean much in a medical malpractice case. But here, they made the difference between the life and death of that case. And as a result, the plaintiff has an opportunity for just compensation for his injuries.

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