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The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

NYU Langone Medical Center was investigated by the state after a patient caught fire during surgery; the facility was cited due to lapses in safety procedures and communication.  The fire took place in December 2014 when a medical instrument accidentally reacted with the patient’s oxygen and sparked a fire. The Department of Health inspected the hospital and declared an “immediate jeopardy” situation due to the gaps in safety procedures and communication.  The New York Post was able to obtain the report on the incident through a Freedom of Information Law request,  however the report was heavily redacted.

The name of the patient, nature of surgery, and type of instrument that caused the fire were not revealed in the report, making it unclear as to what injuries the patient sustained. The operating room staff told investigators that a fire-risk assessment was conducted prior to the surgery, but they did not provide any details of the strategies or actions of prevention that were discussed. The operation room fire occurred at the beginning of December, but there was no evidence that the hospital took remedial steps to implement prevention protocols until the after the state inspection later that month.

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A recent Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic (“Triple AAA”) study draws attention to the risks of distracted driving. Distracted driving refers to drivers who talk, text, and dial, including hands-free devices, while operating a motor vehicle.  It can also include those that eat or drink while driving.  Triple AAA’s study illustrates that driving while distracted is very dangerous and plays a significant role in motor vehicle accidents.   Continue reading

Americans file approximately 17,000 medical malpractice claims a year. Studies have shown that 75% of doctors in low-risk specialties have faced a medical malpractice claim in their career with the number shooting up to 99% of doctors in high-risk specialties.  A report by the American Medical Association in 2010 found that specialists, such as general surgeons and OB-GYN’s, are five times more likely to be sued than pediatricians and psychiatrists. This information suggests that being sued is a real possibility for many doctors, including your own.

There are several resources available that provide information on doctor’s licensure and malpractice suits. One resources is the state medical board that licenses doctors to practice in their state and handle disciplinary matters such as license revocation.  Many state boards have websites on which you can find information regarding whether your doctor has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, as well as malpractice suits. A second resource is the state department of health services, which provides information on hospitals including any complaints that were made against the facility. A third resource is court records which will contain whether your doctor has ever been sued in the state; copies of these records can be obtained online or in paper for a fee unless they are confidential.  For example, ecourts is one such resource in New York where one can search for plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits.  The fourth resource is the Internet, where you can search your doctor’s name and keywords such as “medical malpractice” “malpractice suit” or “patient complaint” along with their name and location.

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Ethel Easter of Harris County, Texas was wary of the doctor who would be performing a hernia surgery after some harsh comments he made to her. Easter was told by her doctor she would have to wait two months before her surgery could be performed.  She pleaded that she could not wait that long as she was terribly ill.  The doctor responded, “Who do you think you are? You have to wait just like everybody else.” After this comment, Easter decided to secretly tape record her surgery. Easter placed a small recorder in her hair extensions before entering surgery, when she played the tape back she was shocked at what she heard.

The surgeon began to criticize her immediately after she went under stating, “She is a handful.” He continued to mimic her, saying that she would contact a lawyer and file a complaint for having to wait longer than two weeks to book her surgery; the comments were followed by laughter of other staff in the room. She heard a female voice make fun of her belly button and a male voice saying “Precious, meet Precious.”; Easter believes this is in reference to actress Gabourey Sidibe’s overweight character in the movie Precious. Continue reading

On March 24, a train accident occurred in Mentz, NY resulting in the death of a passenger in the vehicle. The accident occurred at the North Main Street railroad station when a work van drove around the flashing lights and horizontal bars that signaled a train coming; one person was ejected from the vehicle and died. The accident occurred at approximately 6:50 a.m., leaving one line open for the passing of freight trains with both lines being open by 12 noon; the two sets of tracks are major routes with 50-60 freight and Amtrak passenger trains passing through daily.

Rob Doolittle, communications director for the CSX railroad, stated that the Federal Railroad Administration estimates that every three hours a person or vehicle is struck by a train. In 2015, there were 31 incidents in New York where a train struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing.  These accidents resulted in eight deaths and 59 injuries. Doolittle said the deaths were unfortunate and that people should pay attention at all times. People who live near train tracks may think they know the train schedule; however, it is never a good idea to ignore the warning signs because trains today travel quickly and are much quieter.   In some instances, drivers may not realize that as one train passes another could be passing in the opposite direction.

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On April 1, a young construction worker fell to his death while working on a two-family house in Brooklyn. Alex Santizo, 21, of Queens was working on the second floor of the home when a piece of debris struck him in the head and caused him to tumble through an air shaft from the second floor of the building to the basement. NYPD arrived at the scene around 2:15 pm in response to a call reporting an unconscious person. A witness said that when EMS workers removed him his face was covered in blood; he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.

Santizo’s family gathered at the job site on Saturday in remembrance of him. His mother was deeply upset as she left her apartment in Queens, saying she was very sad and was going to be with her family. The family did not have any details about the tragic loss at the time, his mother said she heard it was an accident.

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A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that pedestrian cell phone use is almost as deadly as texting and driving. The report found a 10% increase in the amount of pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015; the largest year to year increase in those types of deaths within the last four decades. GHSA stated that this increase may also be due to lower gas prices resulting in more road trips being taken than in 2014. However, cell phones are known for having a strong hold on people’s attention that could be severely harmful.

walking textingRichard Retting, co-author of the report released by the GHSA, stated that there has never been a 10% increase in only one year. He also stated that the amount of cell phone data used on a regular basis is “explosive” which factors into the elevation of pedestrian deaths.  Studies have shown that people using their cell phones while walking have slower reaction times and pay less attention to their surroundings. As of January 2014, 9 of 10 adults in the United States owned a cell phone, which prompted lawmakers to ban texting while driving in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Continue reading

In a report released January 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that there were 10,388 severe workplace injuries in 2015; 7,636 of those injuries resulted in hospitalization and 2,644 resulted in amputations. The manufacturing industry has the highest reported accidents, accounting for 57% of all amputations and 26% of all hospitalizations, followed by the construction, transportation and warehousing industries. This data was collected by OSHA from 26 states with higher safety standards than federally mandated.

The report came as the result of new regulations that require companies to report serious workplace accidents within 24 hours. This new program took effect on January 1, 2015 in an effort to reduce the amount of workplace injuries; currently there are 30 severe work-related injuries a day. OSHA stated that during investigations of fatal injuries they often find a history of serious injuries at the site, which was a wake-up call that safety issues were being disregarded. Continue reading

Plaintiff, Jacob Lavi, and his wife, brought a lawsuit against NYU Hospitals Center and endocrinologist Barry Schuval, to recover damages for medical malpractice and lack of informed consent. After receiving testosterone replacement therapy by a treating endocrinologist, plaintiff was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The plaintiffs bring suit against the defendants for a failure to warn the patient of foreseeable risks associated with the treatment.

Mr. Lavi claimed that the endocrinologist prescribed testosterone replacement therapy without informing him of the risks, hazards, and alternatives to the therapy. Since he was unaware of the risks associated with the treatment, the plaintiff alleges that he was prevented from giving informed consent.

Generally, in medical malpractice cases where a plaintiff alleges lack of informed consent, a plaintiff must prove three important elements. First, that the person providing the professional treatment failed to disclose alternatives and failed to inform the patient of reasonably foreseeable risks associated with the treatment and that a reasonably prudent physician would have disclosed such risks to the patient in similar circumstances. Second, the plaintiff must establish that a patient in the same position, would not have undergone treatment if he or she had been informed. Finally, the lack of informed consent was the proximate cause of the injury. Lavi v. NYU Hospitals Center, et al., 133 A.D.3d 830, 832 (2nd Dept. 2015).

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The following post discusses a recent decision by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, regarding the admissibility of “habit” evidence during a personal injury trial.  In many instances, people think of personal injury law as straightforward or “cut and dry.”  What could be complex about someone slipping and falling?  This case is an example as to how personal injury cases are not always that straightforward particularly at the trial stage.

On December 23, 2010, plaintiff Veronica Gucciardi slipped and fell on ice in a parking lot outside of a restaurant owned by the defendant, New Chopsticks House. The plaintiff sues the defendant in a negligence cause of action for personal injuries suffered as a result of the incident. The Supreme Court of Richmond County granted the defendant’s motion to preclude the introduction of evidence related to a surveillance video. The surveillance video at issue contained footage of post-accident measures taken by the employer, which showed an employee dumping a bucket of water into the parking lot. Upon granting the defendant’s motion, the plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Division held that evidence of video recordings and testimony was inadmissible.

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