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Emergency cesarean performed due to complications including fetal tachycardia. Robinson v. Northwell Health, Inc. 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 33146 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021)


In New York, medical malpractice cases are subject to a specific statute of limitations, which dictates the timeframe within which a lawsuit must be filed. For most medical malpractice cases, this period is two and a half years from the date of the alleged malpractice or from the end of continuous treatment rendered by the party being sued. This statute is critical as it aims to ensure timely resolution and fairness in litigation. However, certain conditions, such as foreign objects left in a patient’s body, continuous care of the patient, or cases involving minors, may modify this period, allowing for extensions under specific circumstances.

In Robinson v. Northwell Health, Inc. 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 33146 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021), a medical malpractice case related to alleged mistakes made during the delivery of the plaintiff’s baby. The court examined not only issues related to the care that the doctors provided the plaintiff, but also the issue of the statute of limitations.

Background Facts
Theresa Robinson, approximately 20 weeks pregnant, began her prenatal care with Dr. Deepak Nanda at his office in Rego Park, New York, after previously delivering her first child by cesarean section with him. Throughout her pregnancy, she was attended by both Dr. Nanda and Dr. Emmanuel Pafos. On April 12, 2016, after her water broke, she was admitted to LIJMC, where she expressed a desire for a vaginal delivery, which was later changed to an emergency cesarean after complications arose. This resulted in a uterine rupture and bladder injuries, which required surgical repair. Notably, postpartum, she continued her care under Dr. Pafos until May 23, 2016. The plaintiff filed her malpractice claim on November 22, 2018. She filed the claim alleging medical malpractice, lack of informed consent, and a derivative cause of action for loss of services, based on events that occurred from April 13, 2016, through May 23, 2016.

Uterine rupture is a serious obstetric complication where the uterus wall tears during pregnancy or delivery. This rare event poses significant risks to both mother and baby, including severe hemorrhage, loss of the fetus, and potential hysterectomy. It often occurs at the site of a previous cesarean section scar but can happen in unscarred uteruses during intense labor. Factors heightening the risk include multiple previous cesareans, labor induction, and extensive labor. Immediate surgical intervention is crucial to manage bleeding and repair the uterus, and in some cases, a cesarean delivery is necessary to resolve the condition and prevent further complications.

Whether the medical malpractice and lack of informed consent claims against Dr. Nanda and his practice were barred by the statute of limitations, which is two and a half years for medical malpractice in New York. The defendants argued that the last treatment occurred more than two and a half years before the lawsuit was filed, thus barring the claims.


The court found that Dr. Nanda’s individual claims were time-barred by the statute of limitations. However, it left open the possibility that claims against Deepak Nanda, M.D., P.C., could proceed under the continuous treatment doctrine, depending on further factual determination about the nature of the follow-up care with Dr. Pafos.

The court’s decision was primarily based on the application of the continuous treatment doctrine, which can toll the statute of limitations if the treatment for the same underlying condition is ongoing. Here, the court noted that Dr. Pafos, an employee of the practice, continued Robinson’s care after Dr. Nanda’s last direct involvement, potentially extending the statute limitations period. The court dismissed the claims against Dr. Nanda personally but did not dismiss the claims against his practice, pending further review of the continuous treatment criteria.

If you or someone you know has experienced complications during childbirth potentially due to medical malpractice, it is critical to seek legal guidance promptly. Navigating the complexities of medical malpractice claims requires expertise, particularly with the stringent timelines dictated by statutes of limitations. Contact an experienced New York birth injury lawyer to help ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.

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