New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (“HHC”) reportedly settled 221 medical malpractice lawsuits in 2015 for a total of $124 million in payouts, which was down from $133 million that was paid out in 2014 to settle medical malpractice claims. However, the total number of new medical malpractice claims rose from 536 in 2014 to 552 in 2015.
HHC is New York City’s public hospital system consisting of 11 acute care hospitals, 6 Diagnostic and Treatment Centers, 4 long-term care facilities, a certified home health care agency, and more than 80 community health clinics, including Communicare centers and Child Health Clinics.
The single largest medical malpractice settlement payment made by HHC in fiscal year 2015 was $9 million to an autistic woman who was 27-years-old when she was brought to the emergency room of Kings County Hospital in 2011 after she fell down stairs in her home. She was sent home after five hours without the proper diagnosis or treatment of her serious spinal injury. A radiologist later failed to contact the woman or her family despite observing her spinal injury in her radiology studies. She subsequently underwent emergency surgery at another hospital but by then it was too late – she was permanently paralyzed.
Another large New York medical malpractice payment made by HHC in fiscal year 2015 was $5 million paid to the family of a newborn who suffered a brain injury in 2008 at Coney Island Hospital because the hospital reportedly failed to diagnose a serious but treatable condition affecting the fetus.
A $5 million medical malpractice payment made by HHC in fiscal year 2015 involved a 51-year-old woman who went to the emergency department of Jacobi Medical Center with a cough and shortness of breath. The hospital staff performed an unnecessary and negligent spinal tap on the woman that resulted in her being in a permanent vegetative state.
Three top executives at Coney Island Hospital lost their jobs following the February 1, 2016 death of a 41-year-old woman who died in the emergency room due to undiagnosed meningitis after the hospital’s medical staff misdiagnosed her as suffering from an overdose of synthetic marijuana. An investigation into the patient’s death discovered that Coney Island Hospital had hired 450 employees (mostly nursing staff) without the knowledge and approval of HHC. It is expected that Coney Island Hospital, which has 371 beds, will suffer a $65 million loss by the close of the current fiscal year (June 30, 2016).
Contrary to the claims of some tort reform advocates, state medical malpractice caseloads have been decreasing over time in the United States. However, New York is the only state in which medical malpractice filings remained nearly level from 1999 through 2008 in the seven U.S. states for which medical malpractice statistics are available; in the remaining six states, medical malpractice filings fell by between 22% and 45%.
If you or a loved one were harmed as a result of medical malpractice in New York, you should promptly find a New York medical malpractice lawyer who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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