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​Medical Malpractice

What to know when a medical provider causes harm.

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Medical errors are everyday occurrences in Massachusetts, and unacceptable medical care that results in serious personal injury or death can and does occur in all aspects of medicine and nursing. Any lawsuit that seeks damages because of negligent care and treatment by a healthcare provider, be it a doctor, nurse, therapist or other, is referred to generally as a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Like all other types of personal injury claims, in order to prove a medical malpractice case, your lawyer must prove that i) the healthcare provider was negligent; ii) the negligence caused the injury; and iii) you sustained a loss or damages as a result of that injury. Proving that a healthcare provider was negligent is done by showing that his or her treatment was below the standard of care that would have been provided to the patient by the average qualified person in the healthcare provider’s field of practice.

Experienced medical malpractice lawyers know, however, that proving medical malpractice in Massachusetts is far from routine. Massachusetts has specific statutory requirements for medical malpractice cases that restrict when a claim can be brought, limit the damages that can be collected, and require specialized types of evidence. For instance, medical malpractice lawyers in Massachusetts must go before a "gatekeeper" evidentiary tribunal and prove that there was a violation of the standard of care through an expert opinion from a licensed healthcare provider in the same field as the defendant. A new statute setting forth notice requirements in medical malpractice cases, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231, Section 60L, went into effect on November 6, 2012. The attorneys at SUGARMAN played a key role in advocating the Massachusetts legislature to ensure that this new law would not harm patients or their ability to bring malpractice claims.

If you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, you need the expertise of highly skilled and experienced medical malpractice lawyers. With over 50 years of experience representing those victimized by medical malpractice, SUGARMAN's lawyers have an outstanding track record of verdicts and settlements, earning the firm’s reputation as one of the very best medical malpractice law firms in Massachusetts. We have successfully handled almost every type of medical malpractice claim. If you believe that the actions of a healthcare provider fall below the required standard of care, contact one of the medical malpractice attorneys at SUGARMAN. We can help.

Failure to Diagnose Cancer

The key to effective treatment of cancer is early detection. Doctors and nurses are trained to detect symptoms and complications that indicate a patient has early stage cancer. In addition, there are a number of diagnostic tests that a medical provider can use for early detection before a patient even begins experiencing symptoms, such as a colonoscopy or a mammogram. Unfortunately, some patients do not receive proper medical care and preventative testing and, as a result, their cancer goes undetected, resulting in harm to the patient or even death.


Real Cases

Colorectal cancer goes undetected

Settlement for family of man who died from colorectal cancer as a result of his primary care physician's failure to perform a sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy or any of the accepted methods for screening and detecting colorectal cancer. By the time the patient's colorectal cancer was diagnosed, it had metastasized to his liver and lungs.

Failure to diagnose melanoma

Settlement against pathologist who misdiagnosed mole as benign. Patient died of melanoma four years later.

Failure to diagnose lung cancer

Settlement against physicians who failed to follow up on x-ray report of mass in lung in 76-year-old patient who subsequently died from lung cancer.

Failure to report abnormal CT scan results

Pre-lawsuit settlement for family of a 73-year-old widow who died from metastatic lung cancer after cardiothoracic surgeon failed to inform her of a mass in her lung visible on CT Scan three years earlier.

Birth and Labor Malpractice

Any injury to a child is a tragic one for the child’s family. The tragedy is compounded in instances where a medical provider fails to provide proper and adequate medical care to a pregnant mother during her pregnancy, labor or delivery. Birth injury cases can involve a failure to detect warning signs in fetal heart tracings, failure to timely order or perform a C-section when warning signs are present or failure to diagnose and treat a dangerous infection in a newborn.


Real Cases

Failure to diagnose fetal distress

Settlement from obstetrician for brain-injured child for failure to perform C-section sooner.

Failure to diagnose hyperbilirubinemia in newborn

Settlement for bilateral hearing loss in newborn where lab test showed elevated levels, but lab and physicians failed to act.

Obstetrical malpractice for failure to perform emergency C-section

Settlement against doctors who failed to perform a C-section in time, leading to oxygen deprivation and Cerebral palsy in infant.

Injuries During Surgery

There are many risks inherent and accepted in surgeries, no matter how big or how small the procedure is. A medical provider making an error and delivering substandard care, however, is not such a known and accepted risk. In the surgical setting, medical malpractice claims can arise out of a number of medical errors, whether they occur pre-operatively during intubation by the anesthesiologist, intra-operatively by the surgeon or in the post-operative setting.


Real Cases

Displacement of lumbar interbody graft

Settlement for young mother and her family against a neurosurgeon who failed to properly place a lumbar interbody graft during a fusion surgery. Post-operative stage diagnostic studies revealed that the graft was displaced and deforming her iliac vein and arteries. The patient was left with significant neurological injuries.

Negligent lumbar disc surgery

Settlement for 48-year-old patient when spinal surgeon damages a nerve root during surgery.

Patient dies from pulmonary emboli following cancer surgery

Settlement for family of man who died after undergoing major abdominal surgery for appendiceal cancer. Post-operatively, the surgeon ordered Venodyne boots be applied to the patient's lower extremities in order to mitigate the risk of the patient developing pulmonary emboli. A nurse caring for the patient, however, failed to apply the boots during a 12 hour shift. Soon after, the patient collapsed and died from bilateral pulmonary emboli.

Failure to Diagnose or Treat a Heart Attack

A heart attack, referred to as myocardial infarction by medical professions, can be a crippling or even deadly event.  Many patients display signs and symptoms of an impending heart attack and often seek treatment in time for medical providers to render care or surgery to prevent serious damage to the heart.  Many times, however, the warnings signs of a serious heart attack are overlooked.


Real Cases

Failure to diagnose acute coronary episode

Settlement against a primary care physician following the death of a father of two children who died from myocardial infarction as a result of the defendant's failure to appreciate the severity and cause of the patient's complaints and failure to properly interpret the patient's EKG readings.

Failure to diagnose and treat coronary artery disease

Settlement against primary care physician for family of patient with multiple high risk factors who died from myocardial infarction.

Man dies of heart attack after being sent home from health clinic

Substantial recovery for family of man in his fifties who was sent home from a walk-in clinic and died shortly thereafter from cardiac arrest.

Failure to diagnose heart attack

Settlement for family of a 47-year-old man who was improperly discharged from the hospital following failure to diagnose and treat evolving myocardial infarction.  Second largest medical malpractice settlement reported in Massachusetts in 2017.

Medication Errors

Whether it be the wrong drug, wrong dosage or the failure to administer proper medications to address a patient's needs, SUGARMAN lawyers have litigated all types of medical malpractice cases involving medication or drug errors.


Real Cases

Anoxic brain injury and death

Settlement against physician and hospital following the death of a seventy-eight-year-old woman, who died from anoxic encephalopathy following an inappropriate dosage and combination of narcotic and anti-anxiety medications, and improper monitoring during MRI.

Arbitration award for death caused by respiratory depression

Arbitration award for the family of a 68-year-old man who passed away just 12 hours following a routine hip replacement surgery. The patient died from complications of respiratory depression caused by the standard post-operative administration of narcotic pain medications.

Pharmacy dispenses wrong medication

Pre-trial settlement for man who developed severe Levaquin-induced tendonitis with resulting complications after his local pharmacy dispensed Levaquin to him instead of a sleep aid. The error went undetected for two months.

Kidney damage from over-prescription of NSAIDS

Settlement of medical malpractice case on behalf of 70-year-old patient who was over-prescribed NSAIDS (Indomethacin) by physician and nurse practitioner in Quincy, MA, to treat gout for more than two years.  The medication caused irreversible kidney failure, forcing the patient into dialysis for several years.

General Information on Medical Malpractice Cases

If you are interested in learning more about the various types of medical errors that can give rise to a medical malpractice claim or about how medical malpractice claims differ from other personal injury claims in Massachusetts, we invite you to read more to help educate yourself.


Real Cases

Morgan v. Lab. Corp. of Am., 65 Mass. App. Ct. 816 (2006)

Jury verdict against medical laboratory for negligently reporting test results leading to a patient's permanent nerve damage. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the medical laboratory's appeal and affirmed the jury's verdict won by SUGARMAN.

Severely disabled man asphyxiates in bed rails

Settlement reached for family of 34-year-old man with cerebral palsy who died after accidentally asphyxiating himself between metal railings and the base of his bed after his caretakers left him in his bed awake and unattended for three hours.

Emergency room negligence

A physician's failure to perform emergency CT scan to diagnose spinal cord compression resulted in paraplegia; settled before trial.

Medical Malpractice - Kidney Failure

Settlement for client and wife against urologist for failure to properly monitor for urinary retention due to enlarged prostate over the course of several years, resulting in kidney failure.