A woman was pregnant at thirty-one weeks in August 2001. She was rushed to the emergency room because of premature labor. The doctors found that she was suffering from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar at 26 mg/dl. Her blood sugar levels normalized so she was discharged two days later.
A month later, the woman was rushed to the same emergency room because she was having seizures. She has had a history of seizure since childhood. A month later, the woman gave birth to a baby boy whose new born health rating was excellent. Forty minutes after he was delivered, the baby started trembling and shivering. He was transferred to the intensive care unit where his blood sugar level was discovered to be only 20 mg/dl. A little while later, his blood sugar level was measured at 5 mg/dl. He was given intravenous glucose until his blood sugar levels reached a more normal 71 mg/dl. He was discharged from the hospital two days after he was born.
A year later, the baby was referred back to the same hospital where he was born because he had developmental delays. An MRI was made of his brain and it was discovered that he had lost white matter in his brain. This suggested to the doctor that the baby had an episode where he suffered a brain injury due to lack of oxygen. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
His mother filed a suit in damages against the hospital where her baby was born. She claims that her son’s brain injury. She claims that the doctor failed to diagnose her hypoglycemia as well as her son’s. According to the mother, it is this hypoglycemia that caused her son’s cerebral palsy.
The hospital moved for summary judgment in NYC asking that the complaint be dismissed. The hospital also asked that a hearing be held to determine if the brain injury of the child was caused be the mother’s hypoglycemic episode when she was 31 weeks old. The hospital produced an expert who testified that the hypoglycemia experienced by the baby soon after he was born was not the cause of the brain injury.
The Westchester mother also submitted expert testimony that tended to prove that the nature and cause of her son’s brain injury and cerebral palsy was caused by hypoglycemia. The expert testified that in a baby, hypoglycemia causes brain injury. She also testified that some babies are more vulnerable to brain injury due to hypoglycemia than others. Hypoglycemia is toxic and perilous to a baby as there are no safe levels of hypoglycemia.
The expert for the mother presented articles from medical journals that spoke of infants who were studied who also suffered brain injury because of low blood sugar levels of 32 mg/dl. Another article was presented that spoke of thirty-five infants who had tremors around the time of their birth who were later tested to have low blood sugar levels and also developed brain injuries as evidenced by brain MRIs which were similar to the baby here. Much later, six of those thirty-five babies were diagnosed to have cerebral palsy.
The trial court granted the hospital’s motion for summary judgment. The trial court concluded that the expert opinion presented by the mother was not admissible. The trial court held that the expert witness did not prove that the scientific and medical community generally accepts that hypoglycemia which lasted for forty minutes can cause brain injury. The trial court accepted the hospital’s expert witness testimony which asserted that the thirty-five infants in the article presented by the expert witness for the mother had other conditions that would cause low blood oxygen in the brain and did not just suffer from low blood sugar like the baby in this case.
On appeal to the Court, the only question is whether or not the trial court abused its discretion when it found that the expert testimony presented by the mother failed to show that the scientific and medical community accepts that low blood sugar causes brain injury.
The Court held that the hearing to determine if the theory presented by the mother as to what caused her son’s brain injury is only good for proving if the theory is one that is generally accepted by the medical community.
The Court pointed out that none of the expert witnesses of the defendants ever contradicted the testimony of the mother’s expert witness that low blood sugar level in infants causes brain injury. The articles presented showed that this theory that low blood sugar causes brain injury is one that has been written about, experimented and observed in clinical practice by other medical professionals.
In this the plaintiff has raised material issues of fact that prevents the granting of a motion for summary judgment.
In order to bring a medical malpractice case, a New York City Medical Malpractice lawyer has to present facts and plead the doctors or hospital whose actions deviated from commonly accepted medical practices. An NYC Medical Malpractice attorney also has to present evidence that their theory as to the cause of the brain injury is a theory that is accepted by the medical community in general. A New York Medical Malpractice attorney from Stephen Bilkis and Associates are willing to represent you. Come and visit any of the offices of Stephen Bilkis and Associates in the New York area.