Patient Claims Surgeon's Refusal to Administer Anesthesia Was Malicious And Seeks Punitive Damages

On June 9, 2017 the Appellate Division, Fourth Department upheld a lower Court's decision to allow the plaintiff a jury trial to decide whether a surgeon can be held liable for punitive damages. Medical malpractice cases rarely result in punitive damages and such damage claims are typically dismissed long before any trial.

The plaintiff-patient claimed that the surgeon inserted a chest tube to treat his pneumothorax and deliberately refused to administer morphine to ease the pain of that procedure. The surgeon claimed that he was concerned that morphine would negatively impact on his patient's blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels. Morphine slow's one's breathing rate.

Medical malpractice claims are almost universally premised on claims of carelessness or negligence as opposed to malicious or willful conduct. When a malpractice claim is proven at trial the patient is awarded compensatory damages typically covered by insurance. Punitive damages are not covered by insurance and are not awarded against a doctor or hospital unless it can be proven that the wrongful conduct was outrageous, willful and/or malicious. 

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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