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Albany Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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We absolutely can’t thank you enough.

Powers & Santola was so knowledgeable and caring. I was so very fortunate to find such a great law firm.

- John

Upstate New York
Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States (after heart disease and cancer), according to Johns Hopkins University. Unlike heart disease and cancer, medical malpractice is entirely preventable. Independent research estimates that up to 440,000 Americans die from preventable hospital errors annually.

In 2018, more than $4.4 billion was paid to patients who were seriously injured or killed by preventable medical errors. 96.5% of that amount was paid as a result of settlements.

At Powers and Santola, our medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience recovering top settlements and verdicts for victims of medical negligence. Four of our attorneys have been repeatedly recognized by their peers in The Best Lawyers in America for their excellence as medical malpractice lawyers. Two have earned recognition as Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year.

We will evaluate your case for free. Contact our Upstate New York medical malpractice attorneys today at our offices in Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester by phone or through our online form.

Eight NY Hospitals Face Penalties for Patient Safety Issues

No one goes to the hospital expecting to become sicker than they were when they entered. However, for thousands of patients in New York and throughout the country, hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) extend their stay and make their recovery considerably more difficult.

Federal officials are cracking down on those hospitals that put their patients at risk of HAIs – and expose themselves to liability in hospital malpractice lawsuits – by withholding portions of their Medicare payments until they can clean up the situation.

According to Kaiser Health News, those penalized amount to about a quarter of the nation’s hospitals. Beginning in October, they will lose 1 percent of every Medicare payment for one year. Eight of those hospitals are located in New York State.

Facilities Identified in Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program

In April, federal officials outlined the hospitals they expect to be penalized. The list is tentative, but following preliminary analysis, the eight facilities from New York State are:

  • Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, Brooklyn
  • Crouse Hospital, Syracuse
  • Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn
  • Lenox Hill Hospital, New York
  • Massena Memorial Hospital, Massena
  • Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Center, Lewiston
  • Mount Vernon Hospital, Mount Vernon
  • St. James Mercy Hospital, Hornell.

The penalties are part of the “third leg” of Medicare’s pay-for-performance programs, designed to reward those hospitals that do well in patient safety and penalize those that do not.

The Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program began by penalizing facilities with high readmission rates. Then, bonuses and penalties were assigned based on 24 quality measures. Both of these programs are in their second year. When the new penalties are added, some hospitals could risk losing more than five percent of their total Medicare payments.

The Problem with Hospital-Acquired Infections

Hospital-acquired infections are often transmitted through IV lines and catheters. They may be transmitted through the air as well.

The number of HAIs across the nation is dropping. However, they need to fall faster to meet the standards set by the government. Furthermore, antibiotic-resistant strains of HAIs are hard to fight.

In 2012, an estimated one in eight hospital patients suffered a preventable complication—many of them HAIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 25 patients suffers from an HAI on any given day. These infections and related complications cost the healthcare industry billions and cost many patients their lives.

Critics Say Medicare Analysis is Flawed

According to Kaiser, many hospitals listed on the tentative Medicare penalty roster say they are being singled out not because they are dangerous for patient treatment but because they are doing more to identify and root out existing problems.

Teaching hospitals account for a disproportionate number of those marked for penalties. Fifty-four percent of these hospitals have been identified. However, these are some of the largest and most elite facilities, and their supporters say they are listed because they have looked harder to identify and prevent HAIs.

On the other hand, any measure that is aimed at increasing patient safety should be applauded. When patients are at risk of dying from infections they acquired when they were supposed to be getting well, accountability is a must.

Medication Errors Pose Significant Risk to Child Patients in Hospitals

Children in hospitals are particularly vulnerable to medication errors, mainly because of outdated methods for administering drugs, according to a seminal study by the Boston Children’s Hospital.

The seminal study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined 10,778 medication orders made in the pediatric wards of two hospitals where doctors treated a diverse socioeconomic mix of patients.

The study found that medication errors were more common in pediatric settings compared to previous studies in adult settings. Of the 616 errors found, 79 percent of them occurred during drug ordering or involved incorrect dosing and intravenous medication. Medication errors by an anesthesiologist, other doctor, or nurse are generally preventable and may be grounds for medical malpractice claims.

Not surprisingly, the study found that children were more vulnerable than adults to errors because their dosage calculations were significantly more complex. Children often require dosages based on their weight that must be diluted from stock medication. Each additional step opens the door to risk. Children are also physically less capable of tolerating medication errors. Typically, they don’t question medications.

Error rates in the study were highest for those most sensitive to medication and least able to communicate, such as infant patients in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The study recommends standardizing communication in one of two ways, both of which provide safety checks and balances: computerization of orders and the presence of a full-time pharmacist dedicated to the ward to prevent medication errors. 

Today, many prescriptions are entered electronically to prevent transcription errors that can occur if a doctor’s handwriting is illegible. One study found that errors were reduced by 55 percent for adults in another hospital with a computerized drug order system.

A full-time pharmacist dedicated to pediatric patients offers a safety net similar to a computerized system. They can help inform other hospital staff about potential problems before making medication requests. They can also monitor drug fulfillment closely and dispense and store as well. Another study found that having a dedicated pharmacist in an adult setting reduced errors by 66 percent.

Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital noted that identifying drug ordering problems requires both cooperation from staff and the political will to make changes. An atmosphere of suspicion makes it difficult for staff to acknowledge the existence of a problem. Such cultural problems continue in many hospitals.

Older patients and the parents of younger patients – especially infants incapable of protecting themselves – should be aware of these situations and understand they can seek representation with a law firm specializing in medical malpractice cases if preventable hospital errors lead to an adverse drug reaction.

Families harmed by medication errors in hospitals should understand their legal options by talking with a medical malpractice attorney.

What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case?

To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must generally prove:

  • A healthcare provider must provide you with the proper standard of care. 
  • One or more healthcare providers failed to act in accordance with accepted medical practices.
  • The malpractice was a direct and substantial cause of the injury or death, and
  • You suffered damage because of a medical error, and a court can compensate you for it.
Powers & Santola photograph

Source: Diederich Healthcare’s 2020 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis

Determining whether your medical malpractice case has merit requires an extensive review of your medical history. The process starts with our detailed interview with you. If it appears your case has merit, the next step is for a medical malpractice lawyer to obtain and review all relevant medical records.

We also review relevant medical literature to determine the appropriate standard of care when the injury occurred. We retain the best and most appropriate independent medical experts available to review your file and to provide us with an objective assessment of your case.

Then, we can tell you whether you have a claim.

Please note: We never charge a fee for determining whether your case has merit.

Determining whether your medical malpractice case has merit requires an extensive review of your medical history. The process starts with our detailed interview with you. If it appears your case has merit, the next step is for a medical malpractice lawyer to obtain and review all relevant medical records.

We also review relevant medical literature to determine the appropriate standard of care when the injury occurred. We retain the best and most appropriate independent medical experts available to review your file and to provide us with an objective assessment of your case.

Then, we can tell you whether you have a claim.

Please note: We never charge a fee to determine whether your case has merit. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

How Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Near Me Help with My Case?

After a negligent doctor has harmed you, you might be confused about your next steps. A medical malpractice lawyer can provide clarity and guide you through the legal process of filing a medical malpractice claim. When you hire Powers & Santola, LLP, we can help you by:

  • Investigating your case, identifying the negligent treatment, and determining the parties responsible for your injuries and losses
  • Gathering medical records and other evidence to establish your claim
  • Consulting with medical experts to build your case and establish your right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit
  • Ensuring that you take timely legal action before the statute of limitations expires
  • Communicating with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and other parties on your behalf 
  • Managing your legal claims 
  • Negotiating for maximum compensation for your injuries

Get started on your path to recovery by contacting us today for a free case review.

Characteristics to Look for in a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Near Me 

When you are searching for an Albany medical malpractice lawyer, you should look for an attorney with the following characteristics:

  • Knowledge – Because medical malpractice cases are highly complex, you need a lawyer knowledgeable about the intersection between negligent medical treatment and personal injury law. 
  • Experience – There is simply no substitution for relevant experience. Powers & Santola, LLP has represented victims of personal injury and medical malpractice since 1987. We have decades of experience fighting for and securing results for people just like you.
  • Compassion – You will work closely with your medical malpractice attorney, so you have a good relationship with them. Our dedicated attorneys understand the trials and tribulations you are experiencing. We do everything we can to ease your burden.
  • Results – Trust a law firm with published results. Powers & Santola, LLP has a track record of success in obtaining multi-million-dollar awards for injury victims. We will fight tirelessly to secure meaningful financial compensation in your case. 
  • A strong reputation – Powers & Santola, LLP is consistently recognized for its high achievements and ethical standards. We have been recognized by “U.S. News & World Report” and “Best Lawyers” as one of the country’s best medical malpractice and personal injury law firms. Several of our lawyers have also been recognized as Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year.

Click on our contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Medical Malpractice?

If you believe that a negligent doctor has harmed you, there are immediate steps you can take to protect your legal rights, including:

Seek Treatment from Another Doctor 

Your health is paramount. Avoid getting more negligent treatment from the same doctor. You have the right to seek a second doctor’s opinion and switch healthcare providers. You do not have to inform your regular doctor that you are seeking another opinion. 

Request Your Medical Records

You have a right to your medical records. These records may also help establish the negligent actions that led to your injuries. Request your medical records from your previous provider and maintain an organized folder of your visits with your new doctor. 

Document Your Medical Treatment 

Medical malpractice cases are document intensive. Your lawyer will need to provide evidence that a healthcare provider deviated from the accepted standard of care, and that you were harmed as a result. You can help your lawyer with this evidence by recording information related to:

  • Your treatment dates and response to treatment
  • Dates and reasons you began suspecting medical malpractice
  • Statements your doctor made 
  • Your symptoms and the ways your injuries have negatively affected your life 

Consult with an Experienced Lawyer

The best way to determine whether you have a viable medical malpractice case is to speak with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. The lawyers at Powers & Santola, LLP, have extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases. We can investigate your case, gather compelling evidence, and work with renowned medical experts. We never charge a fee to assess a case. Call us today to get started with a free case review. 

Medical Malpractice Claims We Handle

At Powers & Santola, we handle all types of medical malpractice cases, including:

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Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Each medical malpractice lawyer of Powers & Santola, LLP, accepts cases involving doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, pharmacists, radiologists, and other medical professionals. Our firm also handles medical malpractice cases in hospitals, surgical centers, clinics, and doctors’ offices. We help clients with pharmaceutical malpractice cases, general medical malpractice, and abuse in nursing homes.

To discuss how we may assist you, contact us today by phone or online to schedule a free initial consultation. A medical malpractice lawyer is ready to help you.

Sources / More Information

  • Becker’s Hospital Review
  • New York Times
  • Surgical Malpractice
Powers & Santola photograph

Source: Diederich Healthcare’s 2020 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis

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When someone injures you, your life gets turned upside down. Suddenly, you may face a ton of medical bills. You may be unable to work or help out around the home. Others may need to care for you around the clock. Nothing is the same.

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