Summary Judgment Granted

HPM&B recently obtained summary judgment dismissal for our client, a renowned NYC hospital system, in a wrongful death case. Plaintiff alleged that the hospital’s emergency room staff failed to diagnose and treat pulmonary emboli during four emergency department presentations in the same month. The defense moved for summary judgment with the support of a board-certified emergency medicine physician who specializes in treating patients with sickle cell disease, a condition that the decedent had. We established that the care and treatment rendered to the decedent was at all times appropriate and consistent with the standard of care in emergency medicine. The hospital’s expert demonstrated that there was absolutely no evidence during the subject emergency room presentations that the decedent had pulmonary emboli because she did not complain of chest pain or shortness of breath, she was not tachycardic, and her imaging studies showed no evidence of pulmonary emboli. Rather, her complaints were consistent with a typical sickle cell crisis, which is what the emergency room physicians diagnosed her with.

The court found that plaintiff’s expert, who was board-certified in internal medicine with a sub-specialty in pulmonary medicine, lacked probative value because he failed to establish that he had any specific training or expertise in emergency medicine. The court also found that the expert’s opinions were conclusory, speculative and based on hindsight reasoning. In addition, the expert failed to address certain critical assertions by the defendant’s expert. Therefore, the court dismissed the case in its entirety as to the hospital.