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NY: Drs. fail to give anticoagulant to a-fib pt.: Denial of Drs.' motion for judgment affirmed.

CASE FACTS: Ann Tierney, as the Executrix of the Estate of the late Angelina Trotta. brought suit for medical malpractice against Drs. Leonard Girardi. David Messinger and others, alleging that the defendants deviated from the applicable standard of care in failing to administer an anticoagulant to the decedent who had atrial fibrillation after performing heart surgery in the form of cardiac catheterization. The Executrix further alleged that the failure to administer the anticoagulant caused Isabel to have a stroke, which led to her being disabled and which ultimately resulted in her death. The trial court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The defendants appealed.

COURT'S OPINION: The Supreme Court of New York, First Department held that the defendants' motion for summary judgment was properly denied by the lower court. The court held, inter alia, that once the defendants completed their argument as to why summary judgment should be granted in favor of the defendants, the burden shifted to the plaintiff to convince the court that there was an issue of fact, which precluded the case from being disposed of on the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Preliminarily the court rejected Dr. Messinger's contention that he was not obligated to furnish any further care or treatment to the patient once he completed the cardiac catheterization of the patient. The court held that Dr. Messinger continued to owe a duty of care to the patient because he established a doctor-patient relationship with the patient, consulted with her, family and the cardiologist who continued her treatment after the cardiac catheterization and continued to monitor her condition. The defendants' expert's opinion that an anticoagulant was not administered or prescribed for the patient because of the risk of bleeding did not appear to convince the court that was why it was neither administered nor prescribed. Virtually all patients having similar conditions are administered anticoagulants, albeit with close monitoring for the first signs of any bleeding triggered by the anticoagulant. What better place to be in than a hospital where the administration of the anticoagulant can be closely monitored and immediate intervention can be had. The court concluded that the plaintiff had submitted sufficient evidence to convince the court that the lower court had not erred in denying the defendants' motion for summary judgment. The court recognized that one of the primary risks of atrial fibrillation is the risk of stroke in the event that the condition results in a blood clot going to the brain and causing a stroke, which in turn, can result in permanent disability and/or death! Tierney v. Girardi, 211-05934 NYAPP1 (7/14/2011)-NY
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Title Annotation:Medical Law Cases of Note
Publication:Medical Law's Regan Report
Article Type:Case overview
Date:Jul 1, 2011
Words:435
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