Many times in a New York medical malpractice case, multiple parties will blame the other for causing an injury to the patient. This blame can be passed around between doctors, from doctors to nurses, or nurses to doctors. The blame can even be argued against entities, such as the surgeon’s practice versus the hospital. When this happens, it can be very frustrating for a patient to establish who caused the injury or medical malpractice. This can make lawsuits very difficult and require an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney.
A common example of when healthcare providers pass around the blame is during a surgery. Most times the surgical team and the anesthesia team will point fingers at each other. For instance, the surgical team will say the anesthesia team did not perfuse the patient properly, meaning there was a lack of blood pressure which could cause injuries due to lack of oxygen. The anesthesia team, however, will claim that the surgeon made improper incisions or compromised the patient’s blood pressure by not managing the loss of blood properly, or taking too long to perform the surgery.
One example of this could be during a back fusion or a surgery to repair a calcified, compromised, or damaged disc. The patient’s blood pressure needs to be high enough so that the patient’s spinal cord in the center of the spine has enough oxygen and blood going to it; it must be moist with cerebral spinal fluid. When the surgeon goes to perform the procedure and scrap away the problem disc or pathology, that pressure will help support the vertebrae and the spinal cord. If the blood pressure is too low, the spinal cord will become almost like a wet noodle inside the spine. There will be no pushback with the surgeon’s tools and no feedback. This can both make it hard to gauge where the surgeon is performing the surgery, how deep to go, and how far to scrap, but also affect the amount of direct pressure needed to perform the surgery.
Translation: this could easily result in the surgeon compromising the spinal cord by drilling through it or having the structures around it collapse. This will paralyze a patient, potentially forever.
Another example where healthcare providers point the blame at each other are during the labor and delivery process. A family practitioner may have privileges at a hospital but not be an employee. The family practitioner will admit the patient into the hospital to have the baby, and use the hospital’s employees—the nursing staff—to assist. There may also be an OB-GYN who also has privileges at the hospital but is not an employee. If there are problems with the labor and delivery, particularly if there is a need for an emergency c-section which is not performed, the family doctor will blame the hospital and the nurses for not monitoring the situation properly and the OB-GYN for not performing the c-section in a timely fashion. The hospital and nurses will argue that the family doctor should have made the call as it was his or her patient for a longer time, and should have been monitoring everything. And the OB-GYN will argue both the family doctor and the nurses and hospital should have called him or her in earlier to perform the c-section.
What does this mean to the victim? Well it is frustrating, but a good plaintiff’s attorney will keep the parties pointing fingers at each other all the way through trial. A jury will see the defendant’s fighting over liability and will ultimately find for the victim. How the liability is apportioned is up to the jury, but the victim will certainly win.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.