By Charisma L. Miller, Esq.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
An 84-year-old patient died of a faulty blood transfusion administered at Coney Island Hospital in early June, it has been discovered.
The New York Daily News reports that the patient was given the wrong blood type during a routine blood transfusion. The hospital administration said that the blood type was incorrectly labeled.
The patient’s family may have grounds for a medical malpractice, wrongful death claim against the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, which operates Coney Island Hospital. In such claims, the decedent’s attorney must show that it was the negligence of, or an error caused by, Coney Island Hospital, via its doctors, nurses or other employed staff, that caused the patient’s death. If the deceased’s family intends to go this route, they must act quickly.
A 1975 New York state law places a stringent time limit as to when an individual can sue a hospital owned by a municipality. The statue of limitations is twofold. First, the family of a victim of medical malpractice has 90 days from the date of injury to notify the city of their intention to sue. Secondly, the suit must be filed within 15 months of the injury.
“In general, it is very difficult to prosecute medical malpractice cases because they are time-consuming and very costly,” Jack Kanzler from Finz & Finz, P.C. previously told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
“Medical malpractice cases are taken on contingency. Lawyers spend a lot of time and money screening cases to ensure that there is a valid case,” noted medical malpractice attorney Judith Livingston.
New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is looking to ease the time-limit burden for medical malpractice claims against city-owned hospitals. Silver’s spokesperson said that he supports a bill that would start the statute of limitations at the moment a patient learns of a medical error. “The speaker thinks the issue has merit and will review it with the members of the Democratic conference,” Silver’s spokesman Michael Whyland told the New York Daily News.
Following the incident at Coney Island Hospital, the state Health Department has ordered Coney Island Hospital to send patients’ blood elsewhere for transfusion testing.