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State Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Malpractice Case Against Public Hospital

medical instrumentThe birth of a child is meant to be one of the most joyous occasions in a parent’s life. The sad reality is, however, that medical mistakes often cause serious and long-term injuries to a child. If your infant has suffered a birth injury due to a medical professional’s negligence, we can help. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can carefully examine the facts of your case and determine whether malpractice took place. You can rest assured that we understand the nuances of this area of law, including procedural rules, which can be vital in any medical malpractice case. Consider the following New York case as an example.

In Wally G. v. NY City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the plaintiff was born prematurely through an emergency caesarean section at the defendant hospital in June 2005. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant did not act fast enough upon noting the difficulties of the pregnancy and then negligently failed to treat the fetal distress. Consequently, the infant developed some neurological and cognitive disorders, including cerebral palsy, seizures, and trouble with speech.

The infant remained in the neonatal intensive care unit and was discharged in stable condition in August 2005. In January 2007, the plaintiffs served a notice of claim against the hospital, alleging medical malpractice stemming out of its failure to properly handle the mother’s prenatal care and its failure to get informed consent in terms of the plaintiff’s care.

Under New York law, a notice of claim against a public medical provider, such as the defendant hospital, must be served within 90 days of when the malpractice took place. If this time limit is not met, court permission must be sought. In the case at hand, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in August 2008 but waited until late 2010 to seek permission to serve a late notice of claim. The court denied permission, and the lawsuit was subsequently dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to meet the 90-day notice-of-claim requirement.

The Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of the case, rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that the hospital’s medical records put the hospital on notice of the plaintiff’s injuries. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal, holding that the medical records must do more than suggest that an injury took place as a result of the malpractice in order for the hospital to have actual knowledge of the essential facts, including the deviation from the standard of care. In short, medical records are not sufficient to put the public hospital on notice of the claim.

While this case took place in New York, it highlights the importance of adhering to deadlines. The same principle holds true in Maryland. At Arfaa Law Group, we understand how important it is to be vigilant of procedural rules in medical malpractice cases. Our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys can scrutinize the facts of your case and create a legal strategy accordingly. We proudly represent clients statewide. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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