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Medical Malpractice

Your loved one has died or sustained a serious injury or a life-long disability because of a failure of medical staff to establish a proper diagnosis, administer proper medicine or act in a timely manner? Or maybe a medical professional has failed to consider how multiple drugs interacted in a patient and, as a result, the patient’s recovery and maybe even their life have been severely jeopardized?

In law, the aforementioned instances can be the basis of a medical malpractice case. The law defines medical malpractice or medical negligence as a deviation from or a breach of the generally accepted standard of care in patient treatment. In other words, the standard of care is specified as an action that prudent medical staff would or would not have done in the patient’s care under the same or similar circumstances. This is one of the conditions that need to exist if you are contemplating suing for medical malpractice or medical negligence, namely the medical malpractice plaintiff needs to prove that the relevant standard of care has been breached.

The typical medical malpractice cases might include but not limited to:

  • Childbirth injuries (failure to diagnose dangerous medical conditions of the mother, birth defects, ectopic pregnancy, diseases that might result in the death or severe injury of the fetus like genital herpes, to adequately and timely respond to fetal distress, inadequate use of forceps or vacuum etc.)
  • Prescribing incorrect dosage
  • Administration of incorrect dosages
  • Medical equipment malfunctioning
  • Failure to properly investigate the patient’s previous medical history
  • Administering too much or too little anesthesia
  • Surgery and post-surgery errors (operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments in the body, damaging internal organs during surgery, failure to provide proper post-op care)
  • Unnecessary amputations
  • Wrong heart valve bypassed
  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose life threatening conditions and diseases
  • Medical complications from receiving a transfusion of an incompatible blood type
  • Fertility clinic confusing sperm samples
  • Removal of a perfectly functioning internal organ
  • Plastic surgery gone wrong


The Journal of the American Medical Association has stated that medical malpractice / medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States, immediately after heart attack and cancer. For instance, in 2013, more than $3 billion was paid out in medical malpractice cases. According to the statistical data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice, the average payout in the medical malpractice cases was $400,000 and that New York is one of the three states with the highest malpractice payouts (In 2011, New York had the highest payout of any state at $677 million).  Also, almost 90% of such cases are settled out of court. Furthermore,  over 50% of all doctors practicing in the US will be sued for medical malpractice before they turn 50 years old.

SUING FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN NEW YORK / LEGAL REPRESENTATION IN NEW YORK

What is the first step in suing for medical malpractice? Definitely contacting an experienced medical malpractice lawyer who is going to review all the particulars about the case in detail, secure applicable medical documents and records, conduct interviews with the patient or family members and determine if the case should be pursued.

Medical malpractice cases can be incredibly complex and detailed. The statutes of limitation (law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought or, in simpler terms, the deadline by which a lawsuit should be made) vary from state to state, as do the procedural conditions that have to be met in order for the medical malpractice lawsuit to be made. According to the New York City Bar, the statute of limitation for medical malpractice cases in the state of New York is “two and a half years from date of malpractice or from end of continuous treatment rendered by the party or entity you intend to sue for a particular condition, illness or injury”.  It is always advisable to seek legal advice from a lawyer licensed in the state where the malpractice case happened.

Don’t be one of those patients who will not pursue a valid medical malpractice case because you fear that you suing would result in an increase in the cost of your medical care or because you think that the financial costs associated with litigation are high, or you think that if other medical professionals learn about your lawsuit, they will refuse to treat you. A seasoned medical malpractice lawyer can handle any challenge, no matter how complicated or complex it may be to get you the justice and the payout you deserve.

We, at Gurfein Douglas, pride ourselves in being just that. Apart from law degrees, our firm’s principals Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biochemistry which gives them an edge over other medical malpractice attorneys in New York. Preston Douglas is an expert in medical malpractice and serious injury cases and, in the last 27 years, he has cross examined over 2,000 doctors in the course of trials and depositions.

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