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Hospital negligence in New York can lead to many consequences for a physician who causes serious injury or death. In addition to a civil lawsuit by a party who is injured, doctors in New York may also be subject to sanctions and fines if charged with negligence by the New York state Board for Professional Medical Conduct. That was the case for one New York orthopedic surgeon.

The surgeon was fined $50,000 for 16 different charges of medical negligence. The surgeon acknowledged his negligence in two specific instances. One of the instances involved a surgical mistake where the wrong procedure was performed and the notes taken after the surgery did not properly document the patient's care and treatment. The other instance involved closing up a patient's shoulder even though the doctor knew that a sponge was missing.

Outside of these instances, the doctor did not acknowledge the other allegations brought against him. Some of the other allegations included negligence, incompetence, and gross negligence in his practice, as well as false reporting and failure to properly maintain accurate records. The allegations were reviewed by a disciplinary hearing committee comprised of two doctors, as well as another person who was not a doctor. Based on the allegations, the Board for Professional Medical Conduct determined that the doctor was liable and should be sanctioned.

In addition to a fine, the doctor will also be subject to a probationary period. Part of his probation will involve monitoring of records and required observation. Although the doctor indicates that his practice will continue and not be impacted, he will be on probation for five years.

Medical negligence of any kind is a serious issue in New York City and throughout the state. Now that this doctor has been publically sanctioned, former patients seeking damages for medical malpractice against the doctor may try and use the findings as evidence of the doctor's acknowledged substandard degree of medical care. Medical malpractice litigation is complex with its own particular set of laws and procedures. Those seeking redress would do well to consult with an attorney experienced in medical malpractice.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle, "Surgeon sanctioned for negligent practice," Patti Singer, Nov. 22, 2011

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