The agency responsible for New York City’s public hospitals, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), is reported to have settled at least 221 medical malpractice lawsuits in 2015, leading to $124 million in payouts. Settlements are often seen as a cheaper and easier alternative than litigation, where hospitals open themselves up to potentially massive jury verdicts.
While the number is large, it is actually a drop from the $133 million they spent paying claimants in such suits in 2014. As the amount paid out dropped, however, the number of malpractice suits actually increased, with alleging overworked doctors, undertrained staff, poor hiring practices, management problems and general mistakes.
The largest payout by HHC in 2015 was for a case involving a spinal injury. An autistic woman came to Kings County Hospital’s emergency room with a severe injury after falling down stairs, but was sent home by doctors who allegedly failed to diagnose her. Even after a radiologist noticed the injury, no effort was made to warn the patient or her family. Because the spinal condition was not treated, it worsened, and the women became paralyzed. HHC settled the case for $9 million.
While these statistics are a good indicator of the amount of malpractice occurring and the number of suits being settled, HHC is only one of the many hospital operators in New York. In addition to running 11 hospitals, they manage clinics and nursing homes, but their 11 hospitals represent less than one-fifth of the hospitals in the city.
People regularly bring claims against hospitals and other medical institutions for:
- Failure to diagnose
- Medication errors
- Surgical errors
- Birth and pregnancy problems
In addition to bringing claims against institutions after suffering an injury caused by negligence, New Yorkers also bring claims against doctors, nurses, surgeons and pharmacists. For more information on filing a medical malpractice claim after suffering an injury or an illness, meet with a dedicated New York personal injury lawyer at Rubenstein & Rynecki. Call us at (718) 522-1020 or contact us online to get started.