On 23 January 1985, plaintiff was born by caesarean section at North Central Bronx Hospital, an affiliate hospital of defendant HHC. The infant plaintiff’s parents are citizens of Guyana and the mother has had intermittent residence in the Bronx. Apparently, the caesarean section was necessitated by fetal distress arising from the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck. Upon delivery, there was evidence of meconium and he received low Apgar scores. Hospital records indicate that he had suffered birth injuries such as birth asphyxia, meconium respiration and additional ailments (birth injury accidents). Plaintiff was discharged on 28 January 1985. Discharge memoranda indicate follow-up appointments and a referral to the Visiting Nursing Services. There is some evidence that the mother was provided with a set of appointment papers for a follow-up clinic appointment, but the mother states that she received no instructions after discharge. She recalls that a nurse visited once a week for six weeks, but she is not sure what the visits were for. Apparently she was given an appointment for a follow-up examination at the Kennedy Center, but she did not keep her appointment. The mother returned to Guyana with plaintiff in March 1985. There, she took him to a clinic for a six-week checkup, but otherwise sought no medical examinations.
At some point, she received a letter from North Central Bronx Hospital advising her that plaintiff should have a blood test. As a result, she returned with plaintiff to a Bronx clinic in September 1985. She did not recall the reason for the blood test, but recalled that the outcome was “OK.” Plaintiff notes that the clinic’s lab slip referencing the18 September 1985 blood test identified North Central Bronx as his hospital. Defendant argues that the clinic was not at North Central Bronx, though plaintiff tries to connect the two entities by noting that the clinic identified plaintiff by use of plaintiff’s North Central Bronx chart number. In any event, the mother subsequently took plaintiff back to Guyana. While in Guyana, the mother took him to a clinic to get vaccinations, and occasionally for colds, and at one point a doctor there indicated that plaintiff had a damaged hand, but no further treatment was ever given, and no further references were made.
Around 1986, plaintiff’s mother began to notice that plaintiff had difficulties with his left hand and arm, that he could not hold things and had general clumsiness when trying to hold things. She also observed at some point that he had difficulty with his left leg. She did not have this treated in Guyana; instead, she returned to the United States. Upon her request, she was scheduled for an appointment at North Central Bronx Hospital’s Well Baby Clinic on 12 August 1987. This was some 2½ years after plaintiff was discharged following his birth. In the interim, the mother had had no interaction with defendant hospital as to the medical conditions relating to the child’s birth. During that appointment, several diagnostic evaluations were made in connection with probable cerebral palsy, and a pediatric rehabilitation consultation was requested. The mother was scheduled for a 13 November 1987 appointment, and then a 29 January 1988 appointment, but she failed to appear at either appointment. She and plaintiff also failed to appear for a scheduled 7 October 1987 appointment for a rehabilitation and speech language pathology consultation. On 10 November 1987, she and plaintiff also failed to appear for a clinic appointment. She subsequently explained that during this time period, she had returned to Guyana where plaintiff was seen by a doctor who indicated that plaintiff had a damaged hand.