Articles Posted in Staten Island

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The Facts:

A medical malpractice action to recover damages for the birth injury sustained by an infant was commenced by plaintiff, the mother of the injured infant, against, among others, the defendant Hospital Center. Plaintiff alleges that, inter alia, as a result of the negligence, carelessness, and recklessness of defendants, plaintiff’s infant was born prematurely and thereby suffered severe and permanent brain injury, including cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cognitive and speech impairments.

In December 2004, before commencing the action, plaintiff’s attorney requested the Hospital to provide him with the complete medical file for both plaintiff and her infant from July 1997 to December 2004. In July 2006, after the commencement of the action, plaintiff’s attorney specifically requested that the Queens Hospital provide him with, among other things, the fetal monitoring strips for 19 July 1997. On 9 November 2006, after plaintiff’s counsel made several attempts to secure the Hospital’s compliance with his request, the Hospital informed plaintiff’s attorney that the fetal monitoring strips he had requested no longer existed. Plaintiff now moved to strike the Hospital’s answer due to spoliation of evidence.

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The common issue arising in all of the following cases concerns the constitutionality of the new article as it affects the presumptively mandated removal of custody of children from a parent who considered being addicted to narcotics.

In one case in Queens involving an addiction issue, a mother indicated in the records of the hospital that she had injected 10 bags of heroin daily into her blood stream for six years and that she had administered a dose to herself four hours before she delivered her baby. The attending doctor testified that her baby was born normally, without apparent symptoms or birth injury.

Evidently 24 hours after birth, the baby began to show the unmistakable narcotic withdrawal symptoms consisting of pre-convulsive tremors, hyperactivity, incessant crying, and ravenousness with alternating vomiting. Illnesses with partially similar symptoms were ruled out. Sedatives, dark and quiet environment were required for seven days before the child became physically well. Without careful therapy, the child might have suffered convulsions or even death. To give rise to such symptoms, the mother must have been regularly using large quantities of heroin for considerable time before her confinement. In addition, the placenta permits ready transfer of heroin from mother to fetus. If the mother injected heroin not habitually but only shortly before child’s birth, massive doses may have killed her and the new-born child or the baby would have been sedated instead of hyperactive and suffering withdrawal. Only high tolerance for both the mother and baby would cause the medically observed course of events found.

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A 41-year-old physician and mother of one went into labor after an uncomplicated pregnancy. When notified at the onset of labor, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology who had delivered the woman’s first child directed the expectant parents to the Physicians’ Hospital.

After admission to the hospital at 1:30 A.M., the patient was brought to the labor room area. Although no house physician performed an examination of the patient, a Nurse monitored the progress of labor, noting the frequency of contractions and the fetal heart rate, and performed a vaginal or rectal examination. At 1:35 A.M. the nurse telephoned the attending obstetric gynecologist to notify him of the patient’s admission and progress in labor. The hospital chart indicates that the mother’s contractions were every three minutes and moderate; and the fetal heart rate was regular. Over the telephone, the attending physician prescribed several drugs, including a pain killer, which the woman’s expert witnesses at trial conceded did not contribute in any way to the infant’s injuries.

The attending Nassau physician arrived at the hospital and performed a vaginal examination of the patient. He found that the cervix was fully effaced and dilated, meaning that the patient had progressed to the second stage of labor. He also determined that contractions were four minutes apart (this just after administration of the pain killer) and that the station was minus two (meaning that the fetal head was two centimeters above the pelvic spines which form the entrance to the birth canal). Immediately after completing the examination and without directing an X-ray pelvimetry (to rule out the possibility of cephalopelvic disproportion, i.e., disproportion between the size of the presenting part of the fetus, usually the head, and that of the mother’s pelvis), he ordered the administration of an oxytocin, to speed labor, because, as he testified at trial, contractions had begun to slow down and he was dealing with a desultory labor (dystocia). The hospital records, however, took no note of uterine dysfunction and indeed noted that labor was good and active. In any event, within five minutes of the examination, the oxytocin, which experts at trial universally agreed can cause compression of the umbilical cord by virtue of the uterine compressions it induces, and can impede the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus, was hanging over the bed being infused intravenously to the expectant mother.

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Infant plaintiff’s mother (herein “plaintiff-mother”) is a physician Board Certified in Internal Medicine. On 8 March 1999, plaintiff mother presented to New York University Village Women’s Health (“Women’s Health”) for prenatal care and was examined by a doctor (herein “doctor-one”). According to her deposition, plaintiff-mother was unaware that she had ever been exposed to herpes and reported to her obstetricians that she did not have herpes or diabetes. In fact, the NYU defendants claim that plaintiff-mother still denied that she had herpes to doctor-one on 27 April 2000, some seven months after the delivery. The NYU defendants claim that the prenatal care records and labor and delivery records reveal that herpetic vesicles or lesions were never observed during any of plaintiff-mother’s vaginal examinations throughout the pregnancy.

Plaintiff-mother remained under the care of doctor-one during the prenatal period. On 8 March 1999, in response to a blood sample report which revealed raised red blood cell antibodies which had the potential to destroy the fetus or newborn’s red blood cells, doctor-one referred plaintiff-mother to non-party doctor-two, a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, for evaluation and monitoring. Doctor-two monitored plaintiff-mother’s blood antibodies through the pregnancy.

On 8 September 1999, plaintiff-mother was examined by doctor-one at Women’s Health. She was 50% effaced, her cervix was closed, and the gestational age was more than thirty-seven weeks. Plaintiff-mother consented to vaginal delivery by induction. She presented to New York University Medical Center (“NYUMC”) on 9 September 1999 at 5:08 p.m. for delivery with the assistance of Pitocin. A fetal heart rate monitor was placed and doctor-one ordered Pitocin to be infused at 7:25 p.m. After some 25 hours, plaintiff-mother’s membranes were artificially ruptured at 9:00 p.m. on 10 September 1999. Doctor-one examined the patient for the last time at approximately 5:56 p.m. on 11 September 1999, some 48 hours after plaintiff-mother presented to NYUMC. From this point on, doctor-three, who was covering doctor-one’s patients, took over the care of plaintiff-mother. Approximately 12 hours later, at 5:30 a.m. on 11 September 1999, the infant-plaintiff was delivered by doctor-three. A vacuum extraction was performed, and forceps were applied to complete the delivery. A pediatrician was present at the time of delivery and noted Apgar scores of eight at one minute and eight at five minutes. The infant was transferred to the well-baby nursery, where he was noted to have two “skin tears”; one on the left side of the face and one on the right neck. On 13 September 1999, infant-plaintiff was discharged home and skin lesions appeared intermittently in September of 1999.

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On June 16, 2003, the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”) filed an abuse petition against the respondent mother, and the respondent father, with regard to their infant childEdwin.

The petition was amended against both respondents, alleging that the infant child was also a severely abused child. The petition alleged that the infant suffered rib fractures and intracranial bleeding as result of the respondent mother repeatedly grabbing him by the torso, squeezing the infant’s ribcage and shaking him violently, and dropping him, beginning in March 2003 and extending over the course of approximately three months.

On June 25, 2003, the respondent mother pleaded guilty in assaulting her infant child. A Kings Injury Lawyer said that ACS filed a motion for summary judgment, affirmations and arguments in relation thereto, the Court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent mother abused and severely abused her infant, Edwin, pursuant to the Family Court Act and Social Services Law respectively.

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During the first months of 1998, petitioner and respondent began living together. On 28 August 1998, the parties were married in the State of New York. Both parties were aware of the fact that petitioner was born a woman but lived as a man since he was a teenager. On 8 June 1998, petitioner legally changed his name. Since the age of 15, petitioner adopted the hair style, clothing, demeanor and name of a man. Thereafter, petitioner received hormone treatments to effectuate a fully masculine appearance. Petitioner plans to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the future.

Meanwhile, respondent stated that despite knowing that petitioner was born a female, she agreed to marry petitioner. The couple filled out the marriage certificate together. Respondent claims that the first year of marriage was happy and that in the beginning of the second year, in 1999, petitioner became physically abusive.

After four years of marriage, respondent agreed to conceive a child through artificial insemination with petitioner, despite the alleged continued abuse. In 2001, the parties agreed that the mother would undergo artificial insemination and the parties selected a sperm donor whose characteristics and interests matched those of petitioner. The parties collaborated on, contributed to and supported the artificial insemination process. Petitioner signed the consent form for respondent to be inseminated. The procedure had to be repeated three times before it resulted in a pregnancy which concluded with the birth of the subject child on 13 June 2002. The parties submitted a birth certificate which reflected that petitioner was the father of the child and that respondent was the mother of the subject child. According to the parties, the child was born premature and had to remain in the hospital for over one month after his birth. In a letter dated 20 September 2007 written by a doctor, he described the subject child as a five-year old child born premature and asthmatic. The child has been diagnosed as having asthma but the parties disagree whether the condition is aggravated by the consumption of dairy products.

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On November 29, 1983, a pregnant woman and her husband arrived at Herkimer Memorial Hospital to deliver their new baby into the world. After being admitted to the hospital, the husband and wife were placed in a delivery room. The obstetrician arrived and ordered pain medication and labor induction medication to speed labor. All of the staff from the hospital, left the room at that time. Only the husband and wife were in the room when the baby began to come. The inexperienced husband tried to help his wife safely deliver their baby, but he did not know what needed to be done. Traumatized, he watched as his infant son was delivered into the world with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. The baby’s airway was cut off. He struggled to breathe without success. The father watched helplessly as his son suffered from lack of oxygen. When at last, the staff responded to his cries for help, the child was severely injured.

The little baby boy died of his birth injury the next day. The parents filed a medical malpractice suit to recover damages for wrongful death of their baby, by means of negligence and malpractice. The father also made a motion to the court for the court to grant him damages because of his severe mental and emotional distress from watching his baby son suffer.

The court contends that in order for a person to recover damages based on the death of another person, they must be able to show that there was an unreasonable risk of bodily injury or death to themselves. They must be able to show that they were within an area called the zone of danger. Since in this case, the father was not under the care of the doctors who were delivering the baby, and he was not injured in any fashion, he cannot show that there is any justification to the recovery of the damages. He admits that he was never in any danger and that he did not suffer any physical injuries during the entire process. The original trial court found that the father was not eligible to apply for damages under this statute. The Supreme Court agreed that the father had no right to receive monetary compensation for mental pain and anguish over watching his child suffer fatal injury in the delivery room. The third cause of action in regards to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment releasing them from liability in this action is granted and the father’s motion for monetary compensation must be dismissed.

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On September 10, 1993, a mother brought her 56 day old baby girl to the emergency room at Saint Luke’s Hospital in New York for treatment. The hospital staff were horrified at what they discovered. The small baby had several broken bones. She had a spinal fracture of her of her right arm that was evidence of a severe twisting action with enough force to break both bones. She had eight broken ribs. Some of the ribs showed evidence that they had begun to heal. The staff determined that those breaks were about two weeks old. Some of the broken ribs were fresh, within days before being admitted to the hospital. Both of the infant’s large leg bones, the femurs were broken. Both of the small leg bones, the tibias were broken. Both of the baby’s ankles were broken. The baby had a fractured wrist, and her left arm was fractured at the ulna. The hospital staff notified social services and the police department.

The police officers and social service workers arrived at the hospital. The social services workers took custody of the infant and eventually placed her in kinship foster care. The police officers arrested both of the parents for child abuse and neglect. When questioned about what happened, the father advised the officers that the day before the mother took the baby to the hospital, he had been giving her a bath. She had begun to slip under the water and he grabbed her by the arm to prevent her from drowning. The mother stated that the day before she took the baby to the hospital, the father had approached her and told her that he was afraid that he had injured her while giving her a bath. Neither of the parents took the baby to the hospital to be checked out at that time. The mother waited until the following day to take the baby into the hospital to be checked out.

The parents contend that the child was not injured to the extent that the hospital records state. They claimed that they had two well-baby checkups performed at their doctor’s office which did not detect any broken bones or any other injuries. They claim that the hospital personnel are mistaken. They further made a motion to the court to have the criminal charges against them transferred over to family court for handling. Family court has the ability to have any case transferred to it that it feels would best be served by being handled in a civil fashion rather than a criminal one. The standards that are evaluated to determine if the case would best be served by transfer to family court are straightforward. The entire purpose of the family court is to protect and provide for the children. The court recognizes that some cases are not best served by being transferred to family court.

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A legal action was filed by a mother and his son who wants to recover damages for medical malpractice. The complainant’s demands an appeal from the order of the Supreme Court granting his opponent’s request of dismissing their complaint.

The incident started when the mother began receiving a prenatal care at the hospital which is owned and operated by the opponent on the legal matter. At 31 weeks of gestation, the mother was admitted to the said hospital in Queens for signs of preterm labor. During the admission, the mother’s blood glucose level was measured at 26 mg/dL, an abnormally low level, but was consequently measured at a normal level. The mother was then discharged after two days. At 34 weeks of gestation, the mother experienced a grand mal seizure and was brought again to the said institution by the emergency medical services personnel. However, after the same sort of assessment the mother was discharged. According to the past medical history of the mother, she had seizures during her childhood.

A month after the said seizure, the mother gave birth to a baby boy through a normal delivery. The baby boy got an excellent score from the test given to newborns and initially appeared normal. However, when the baby boy reached his 40 minutes in life, the baby began experiencing tremors and was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit.

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In September of 1974, a woman (1st plaintiff-wife), 37 years of age, conceived a child. After the woman and her husband learned of the pregnancy in October, they engaged the services of defendants, specialists in the field of obstetrics and gynecology. Thereafter, from approximately the tenth week of pregnancy until the birthof their child, the pregnant woman remained under defendants’ exclusive care.

On 10 May 1975, the woman gave birth to a retarded and brain-damaged infant who suffers, and will continue to suffer for the remainder of her life, from Down’s Syndrome, commonly known as mongolism.

The plaintiffs claim that throughout the period during which the 1st plaintiff-wife was under the care of the defendants, plaintiffs were never advised by the defendants of – the increased risk of Down’s Syndrome in children born to women over 35 years of age and the availability of an amniocentesis test to determine whether the fetus carried by the 1st plaintiff-wife would be born afflicted with Down’s Syndrome.

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