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New York City paid out $134 million in malpractice claims this year

In 2008, a woman was taken to a hospital in Queens when she began having contractions. Once she arrived, doctors realized the baby was not moving down the birth canal. The woman was given a drug to increase her contractions. However, hours passed before a physician checked on her.

Although a Cesarean section likely would have been appropriate, doctors made the woman push for close to two hours. At one point, doctors even pushed on the woman's stomach in an attempt to get the baby out. When the baby was finally delivered, it had a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain along with other complications. This past year, the mother was awarded $5.3 million by the city of New York to cover the expenses for her son's medical care.

That is just one of hundreds of medical malpractice cases that resulted in payouts during this past fiscal year in New York City among the 11 public hospitals. In total, $134 million was given to victims of malpractice.

Another case involved a 44-year-old woman. She was taken to a different hospital in Queens with a severe headache. She was having an aneurysm. However, doctors failed to diagnose her properly and sent her home after three days in the hospital. A little more than a week later the woman collapsed. She has remained in a vegetative state ever since. Her family was recently awarded close to $5 million to pay for her medical expenses.

These kinds of cases are disturbing. However, they make up only a small fraction of the total medical malpractice cases in New York City. Although these families have been compensated, no amount of money can make up for the egregious errors made by physicians at some of the city's public hospitals that have left people with major complications that require long-term care.

Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to provide their patients with the best care possible. When the errors they make cause harm to patients, they should be held responsible. Victims of medical malpractice would be wise to consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: New York Daily News, "Medical malpractice lawsuits have cost city $134 million this year and range from babies crushed to crucial misdiagnoses," Reuven Blau, Aug. 27, 2012

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