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Maynard, O'Connor, Smith & Catalinotto, LLP

October 29, 2010

Maynard Partner Successful in Defense of Troy Surgeon

Category: Firm News — admin @ 2:33 pm

Maynard, O’Connor partner, Bruce Bell, successfully defended a Troy surgeon in a medical malpractice lawsuit venued in Saratoga County.  The case of the Estate of Janet Demers v. Seton Health Systems, Inc., et al., involved an allegation that the decedent was improperly and inadequately treated and monitored for a small bowel obstruction for which she presented at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy.  The plaintiff contended that the defendants allowed the small bowel obstruction to continue to develop to the point of causing a rupture of the decedent’s stomach, resulting in the decedent’s death.  Expert medical proof was produced for the consideration of the jury and established that all of the defendants treated the small bowel obstruction in the appropriate manner and that the perforated stomach was an extremely rare event, which could not be predicted or anticipated by any of the medical care providers.  Further, the medical evidence established that decedent’s underlying comorbidities were a contributing factor to the stomach perforation and her death.  The trial started on September 13, 2010, and the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendants on September 23, 2010, after deliberating approximately two hours.

October 20, 2010

Public health law to require practitioners to discuss palliative care options

Category: Legal Writing — admin @ 3:09 pm

On August 13, 2010, New York State Public Health Law was amended and a new provision was created requiring an attending health care practitioner (a physician or nurse practitioner having primary responsibility for the care and treatment of a patient) to provide palliative care and end-of-life options to a terminally ill patient.  A person is considered terminally ill if the illness or condition can reasonably be expected to cause death within six months of diagnosis, regardless of whether the patient chooses treatment. The new provision goes into effect on February 9, 2011.

 Palliative care is defined as interdisciplinary end-of-life treatment, consultation with a patient and family members, prevention or relief of pain and suffering, and the enhancement of a patient’s quality of life, including hospice.  The attending health care practitioner must offer the patient information regarding palliative care and counseling options appropriate to the patient’s prognosis, legal rights and comprehension.  This information can be provided verbally or in writing and can be provided to a person having health care decision making authority for the patient.  Also, the health care practitioner can delegate another qualified professional to provide the information and counseling to the patient.

 When designating an agent to be your health care proxy, it is always a good idea to discuss your end-of-life wishes with him or her.  It can be a very difficult and emotional time for everyone involved.  Hope for the best but plan for the worst, and everything in between, when it comes to your estate planning and advance directives.