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Queens New York Legal Blog

What is duty of care?

When you go to see a doctor in New York, you have the right to expect that doctor to take care of you properly. If he or she does not, it could impact your health. A great example is when a doctor misses the symptoms and signs that you have a condition and fails to diagnose it. The responsibility of your doctor to provide adequate care, according to The National Law Review, is duty of care.

Duty of care relies on a couple things. First, you have to show that you had an established doctor and patient relationship. This is usually fairly easy. If you saw the doctor in any formal capacity, you will have a paperwork trail that shows there was a relationship there.

Do hospitals profit from surgical errors?

As a surgical patient in New York, you should be able to trust in your surgeons to always act in your best interest. However, a study conducted at a hospital in Texas approximately five years ago may have sown some seeds of doubt in patients' minds about doctors' intent as it seemed to indicate that hospitals make more money if patients develop complications after surgery because they require more medication and other treatments, as well as longer hospital stays. The implication was that hospitals may not have been doing all they could to prevent surgical complications and errors from occurring in the interest of making a profit off of patients' suffering.

However, according to Physician's Weekly, the results of the study were misleading and not necessarily interpreted correctly by journalists covering the story. In fact, another study indicated that the theoretical elimination of a particular type of postsurgical complication, infection at the surgical site, would actually increase a hospital's profit by $650,000 per year by freeing up beds to accommodate more patients. Furthermore, those who interpreted the results of the original study to signify that hospitals profit from postoperative complications resulting from surgical errors do not seem to have taken into consideration other costs that may stem from medical malpractice, such as legal fees resulting from lawsuits or a loss of public trust.

Health department brings charges against New York oncologist

New York State was once home to one of the largest private cancer practices in the region at CCS Oncology. After a string of legal troubles over the last two years, including a bankruptcy filing and an FBI raid, the former president and CEO of the facility, also a radiation oncologist, now faces charges from the state Health Department, alleging incompetence and gross negligence in his treatment of seven patients. Of those seven patients, six are now dead.

The physician's specialty involves treating cancer through exposure to ionizing radiation. The state alleges that, between 2009 and 2013, he repeatedly practiced gross negligence in the treatment of seven particular patients. The charges he faces include prescribing excessive radiation treatments without considering alternatives, unnecessary radiation treatments that exceeded appropriate tissue tolerances and six weeks of radiation therapy performed counter to medical indications. The state also accused the physician of failing to maintain records in addition to negligence and incompetence.

How can you tell if your loved one is being treated poorly?

Even though your loved one has been in a New York nursing home for quite some time now and you did adequate research before deciding where to house him or her, you are starting to suspect that something is wrong. However, it is difficult to tell if your judgments are justified and your loved one is okay. Fortunately, there are warning signs that you can watch to help you recognize when better care should be provided. 

One of the most useful things you can do is to visit with your loved one on a regular basis and ask him or her about how living at the facility has been. Inquire about whether or not the food is good, if adequate medical care is being given, if there is timely and proactive assistance provided with day-to-day tasks and if there is a lively and fun social environment. If your loved one refuses to share any details with you or seems unable to answer your questions honestly, it may be a red flag and one that indicates that you should take a closer look at what is happening behind closed doors. 

Protecting your baby from traumatic brain injuries at birth

As you are preparing to give birth to your baby in New York, much anticipation and excitement lay ahead as you tend to the last-minute details for planning your birthing experience and getting the nursery ready. At Futterman Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP, we have helped many families defend and protect their children who may have received an injury during childbirth. 

While a majority of births may appear to be executed without any noticeable trouble, you should always be aware of the reality that injuries could occur to your baby so you can be prepared to circumvent any hazards that you can control before they become dangerous. For a start, you should take your time to select an OB-GYN and hospital where you are familiar with the people who will be assisting with your birth. You will also benefit from making a detailed birthing plan and discussing it with your health care provider before your due date. Once you arrive at the location where you will be giving birth, it is imperative that you rely on your best judgment and continue to ask any questions that you may have if you are ever doubtful about a doctor's course of action. 

Are non-English speaking patients at risk for surgical errors?

It is something most people never think about because they speak English, but when someone who does not speak English goes into surgery, there is always a fear they have no idea what is about to happen. This is horrible. Every person who seeks healthcare in New York should feel confident in that care and have the right to information about what is going on with their care.

According to Modern Healthcare, non-native English speakers may not always have access to caregivers who speak their native language, which can increase surgical errors and other treatment mistakes. The person may not know or understand what is going on. This means they cannot offer consent. They cannot ask questions, and they cannot object.

Can going to the hospital harm my health?

You probably go to a New York hospital to get better. You expect to go in, get well and leave. For some people, though, this is not the case. They go in and get sicker or experience complications due to the environment. Forbes explains that hospitals have various ways they can actually make you worse than you were when you came in.

One way a hospital may harm you is through exposing you to germs. You may think that a hospital is a sterile environment, but that is far from the case. While workers do try to keep the hospital clean, the reality is that people who come into the hospital are sick. They bring germs with them. If the staff does not follow proper protocols, germs get spread from one person to another.

4 common medication mistakes doctors make

Medical malpractice lawsuits are, unfortunately, common throughout the country. In a recent case, one woman with undiagnosed glaucoma was able to successfully sue her doctor for negligence. 

There are many ways doctors and nurses can be negligent on the job. Mistakes can happen, and in many cases, they relate to a patient's medication. It is vital for patients to question their doctors and seek second opinions so they can be certain one of the following errors has not occurred. 

Nursing home staff careless and ignorant in implementing safety

Selecting a nursing home in New York is often no easy process for families who are concerned about the wellbeing and care of their elderly family member. Often, many families pour hours into comparing their options and visiting facilities to determine which one is the best fit. Unfortunately, there are situations where nursing homes are negligent in the way they care for their residents and as a result, put the safety of their residents in harm's way. 

A VA nursing home in Boston, Massachusetts is facing backlash and legal consequences after investigators found visible signs that staff members were neglecting and ignoring the needs and safety of their patients. They were initially under scrutiny after receiving so many poor ratings that they quickly became one of the lowest rated VA nursing homes in the entire country. Despite knowing that an investigation was likely coming to address the poor ratings, no effort was made to remedy any of the issues that people had recognized. 

Women should work with their doctor to prepare for childbirth

When a woman is preparing to give birth in New York, it does not matter if it is her first pregnancy or if she has given birth before, each birthing situation can be very different and require both mental and physical preparation. What many women fail to recognize is how imperative it is that they work with their doctor to communicate their desires. Women who tell their doctors their concerns and desires promptly without sacrificing honesty are often much more confident when it comes time to deliver their baby. 

According to Parents, depending on the hospital a woman chooses to deliver in, she may have the option to select a room that is more customized to her likings. Many hospitals have individual birthing-center rooms that provide a homier feel than the traditional delivery room. Women also have the right to verbalize their desires about temperature control, music and lighting to make their experience as comfortable as possible. 

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