Court Tosses Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against New York Doctors

Law Firm Newswire



New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) February 23, 2017 – A New York appeals court cleared a Manhattan hospital and several doctors of medical malpractice in a lawsuit that accused them of failing to diagnose an infant’s brain tumor.

The baby’s parents, Frank and Francis Leva, sued Mount Sinai Medical Center and its pediatricians. They alleged the defendants breached the expected standard of medical care by not discovering and treating the infant’s medulloblastoma earlier. Medulloblastoma is a type of brain tumor.

“Many people may think that when something goes wrong medically, the doctor or health care professional is to blame,” said Peter Brill, a New York City criminal defense attorney with Brill Legal Group, who is not involved with the case. “However, in this case, the pediatricians performed the appropriate tests and took the correct steps to diagnose and treat the baby’s condition. It is important to understand that without negligence, there is no medical malpractice case.”

Defendant pediatricians Alan Harawitz and Evan Harawitz submitted medical records and expert testimony. The five-judge appellate panel for the New York Supreme Court said the evidence showed the doctors properly assessed the infant’s vomiting symptoms. They then referred her to Mount Sinai Medical Center specialists, who made the brain tumor diagnosis. Both specialists were cleared of liability in the suit.

The Levas’ expert witness claimed the baby’s condition could have been diagnosed and treated more successfully if the pediatricians had not deviated from the accepted standard of medical care. The expert was of the opinion that “a simple and proper clinical neurological exam” would have shown signs of the brain tumor and led to an earlier diagnosis with less brain damage.

However, the appellate panel ruled that the testimony was “conclusory, speculative and relied on hindsight,” while reflecting “a reasoning back from the fact of injury to find negligence.” It said the expert’s opinion was unsupported by scientific facts or other medical evidence. The court tossed out the lawsuit and sustained a trial court’s summary judgement from January 2016 which cleared the defendants of medical malpractice.

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