Partner Deborah A. Dyckman recently won summary judgment on behalf of our clients, an Emergency Medicine physician and Emergency Medicine group, in a medical malpractice case. Plaintiff’s allegations involved failure to appropriately assess and treat the patient’s stroke symptoms which plaintiff’s counsel claims warranted administration of tPA. Our client followed the co-defendant hospital’s stroke protocol appropriately and the patient was seen by a neurologist within a few minutes of arrival to the Emergency Room.
Ms. Dyckman’s motion papers made numerous arguments in favor of dismissal of the case on behalf of our client. Her primary argument was that our client did everything appropriately, adhered to the stroke protocol of the hospital, including having the patient go immediately for a CT scan on arrival at the hospital, while still on the ambulance stretcher. It was argued that though the treatment rendered by the neurologist was entirely appropriate, our client was not making decisions regarding the patient’s care once the neurologist was involved.
In a Decision dated April 4, 2019, the judge in Supreme Court, Orange County, held that our client had established prima facie entitlement to summary judgment as a matter of law. The physicians determined that the patient was suffering from a stroke, but the symptoms were not debilitating enough to require administration of tPA, nor was there CT evidence of the type of stroke that would require tPA therapy. The Court held that in opposition, plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the existence of a triable issue of fact, and that plaintiff’s expert, a neurologist, submitted opinions on the care rendered by our client, an Emergency Medicine physician. The Court held that the expert affirmation did not specify any specific training or expertise in the areas outside his specialty in which he professed to be an expert. It was therefore determined that plaintiff’s expert opinion had no probative value and was insufficient to defeat our prima facie entitlement to summary judgment on behalf of our Emergency Medicine physician and Emergency Medicine group.