Before, when a person’s condition becomes complicated due to an inexpert attending physician and the incident happened at a cruise ship, chances are that any medical malpractice claims will be ignored. Cruise ships back then had enjoyed immunity from medical malpractice lawsuits, meaning they cannot be held responsible for the worsening of the condition of the person who got injured or got ill inside the ship, no matter how assertive your Long Island medical malpractice lawyer is.
One such instance of malpractice claims on a cruise ship getting denied was in 1988, when a couple named Florence and James Barbetta sought for claims against the S.S. Bermuda Star. According to the complaint, Mrs. Barbetta and her husband went aboard the ship on July 21, 1986 for a cruise around Mexico. Upon the beginning of the journey, however, Mrs. Barbetta began to feel ill, after which she consulted the ship’s doctor, whom she saw for five days. During these five days, Mrs. Barbetta’s condition worsened, acquiring a severe case of pneumonia and falling into a coma. This was blamed upon the ship’s doctor, who allegedly failed to correctly diagnose Mrs. Barbetta’s condition (eventually found out to be diabetes). The US Court of Appeals, however, denied the malpractice claims of the couple, which should have reached a total of a million dollars for damages, including the subsequent medical treatment.
The Barbettas’ case showed how cruise ships are virtually untouchable medical malpractice cases until last year, when a US appeals court granted the malpractice claims of the family of the late Pasquale Vaglio, who died after acquiring a head injury while aboard the Explorer of the Seas in 2011. After the incident, Vaglio was tended to by the onboard nurse but was given only minimal treatment; the ship’s doctor did not evaluate him until four hours later, when his condition worsened and had to be airlifted to a hospital in New York, where he died a week later.
The appeals court decision cited that the 1988 Barbetta case–which Royal Caribbean (the company which owns the Explorer of the Seas) tried to invoke in their defense–was already outdated, considering the numerous advancements in technology on cruise ships. With this recent development, filing a malpractice claim against cruise ships is now possible, and with the help of medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island, like the professionals from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, you can rest assured that you can be compensated for any damages that you might have suffered due to negligence.
(Source: Court ruling reinstates negligence suit against cruise line, The LA Times)