Not only are victims forced to live with the painful and often permanent consequences of medical complications that follow surgery but they are often left with few opportunities to pursue complaints against physicians and/or medical facilities. Hospitals take accusations of medical malpractice incredibly seriously and are known to devote considerable resources to defending themselves against claims. One incident involving attorneys for a plaintiff in New York confronted with serious challenges during the discovery process of the trial serves as a fitting example of how important it is to have quality legal representation in such cases.
According to the man identified as the plaintiff in his medical malpractice lawsuit, the New York Presbyterian Hospital is responsible for causing the stroke that he suffered after having eye surgery. The hospital allegedly agreed that local anesthesia should be used on him because of his pre-existing medical conditions. However, general anesthesia was used instead and the plaintiff believes that the mistake resulted in his permanent injury.
No ruling has been made on the lawsuit itself yet, but a Brooklyn Supreme Court justice did decide on claims made by the plaintiff’s attorneys that the defense had attempted to manipulate the case by delaying the discovery process of the trial. Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that the hospital had knowingly lied to them and withheld documentation regarding the plaintiff’s surgery.
Ultimately, the judge agreed that the defendant, along with the hospital’s legal team, willingly attempted to delay and therefore influence the lawsuit by disrupting the plaintiff’s efforts to discover evidence. Legal penalties in the amount of $15,000 were issued against the two parties as a result. And while the majority of that amount will go to the plaintiff’s attorneys, a portion will also be given to the state’s Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection.
Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “Brooklyn judge sanctions hospital and law firm for obstruction,” Charisma L. Miller, May 27, 2014