Settlement reached in New York medical malpractice case

A New York emergency room physician and a local hospital have reached a settlement with the estate of a man who died while in the hospital's care. The incident happened in August 2009. The deceased suffered a respiratory attack in a Brooklyn store and collapsed. He lost consciousness and was taken to Brooklyn Hospital Center. While there, doctors were unable to resuscitate him, and he subsequently died.

An attorney filed a medical malpractice suit against the hospital and the emergency room physician on behalf of the man's estate and his mother. In the suit, the plaintiffs contended that the physician was negligent in the man's care leading to his death due to her inability to intubate the man or resuscitate him.

The defendant's attorneys countered that the doctor had administered reasonable medical treatment. They also suggested that the man may not have been resuscitated because of his own medical conditions, including obesity. The case went to trial in April, and the defense called another doctor as an expert witness. Since that point, both sides have reached a settlement although terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Settlements can, and often do, happen at any point in the litigation process. If it appears that a favorable outcome at trial, a settlement may look more appealing to a plaintiff and its attorney. On the other side, defendants are often open to settlement negotiations, as they save the added expense and time commitment of a trial. An attorney representing the plaintiff can recommend whether new developments in a case may make a settlement a more preferred outcome.

Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "SKETCHES OF COURT: Brooklyn Hospital Center's malpractice trial", Alba Acevedo, April 14, 2014

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