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Supreme Court, New York County grants summary judgment to an internist who allegedly failed to prevent deterioration of pressure ulcers and a fatal wound infection

Gerspach Sikoscow obtained summary judgment and a complete dismissal of the claims pending against its client, a board-certified internist, in Supreme Court, New York County. The case involved allegations that our client failed to adequately treat and prevent the progression of decubitus ulcers in a 72-year-old male with a number of serious medical co-morbidities, including severe peripheral vascular disease with ischemic gangrene of toes and heels, diabetes, and end-stage renal disease necessitating hemodialysis. Our client performed weekly skin assessments while the decedent was admitted to a co-defendant nursing and rehabilitation center. In our motion, we argued that during the period of time that our client was involved in the decedent's care, appropriate pressure ulcer prevention measures were in place, including turning and positioning protocols, nutritional supplementation, pressure-relieving devices, and appropriate local wound care. We argued that, according to our client's skin care assessment notes, the decubitus ulcers were stable in size/appearance and appeared uninfected; and thus, there was no indication for ordering a wound care consult, starting antibiotics, or recommending surgical debridement of the wounds. We further argued that due to the decedent's serious medical comorbidities which included poor circulation and severe immunocompromise, it was inevitable that the ulcers would eventually worsen notwithstanding optimized medical interventions. Supreme Court, New York County determined that plaintiff's expert affirmation was insufficient to withstand our client's showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. The Court noted plaintiff's expert improperly argued that the care rendered by our client was inadequate simply because the decedent's ulcers deteriorated after he was transferred to an outside hospital. The Court also concluded that plaintiff's expert failed to address the opinions posited by our expert relating to proximate causation and the decedent's underlying medical co-morbidities.

Categories: Motion Practice
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