Issues that occur when a woman is pregnant are now known to cause many problems with the fetus that she is carrying. A pregnant woman has more rights now to investigate this type of medical issue than she did in the 1960’s. In the 1960’s, medical records were not as easy for a person to obtain, even if they were their own records. Laws in recent years, have made obtaining your own medical records much easier. However, when there is a possible case of medical malpractice involved, it can still be difficult for a person to obtain the medical records that they need to prove their case.
In 1964, on July 22, a woman who was early in her pregnancy was hospitalized following a serious automobile accident. She was taken to the Lutheran Medical Center in New York for treatment. She remained in the hospital for two months while she was treated for her injuries. When she was discharged two months later and sent home, she had no reason to believe that there was anything wrong with the baby that she carried. However, on October 22, 1964, she was brought to Kings County Hospital where she was admitted in preterm labor. The infant died shortly after birth.
The mother was convinced that the cause of her infant’s death related to the traffic accident in July. However when she requested copies of the medical records from her hospital stay and treatment, the hospital would not provide her with the information that she needed. She discovered that in order to obtain the records, she would have to execute an assignment of lien against the hospital. The woman filed the lien. The Long Island hospital provided the documents, but requested that the court make the woman pay them more than $600.00 for their costs in obtaining the records. The hospital contends that they have the right to the payment because the assignment of the lien that was executed by the mother and her attorney served to form a binding contract between the woman and the hospital. The records that the hospital provided to the mother claim that the injuries that she sustained in the car accident and the treatment that she received in the hospital had no bearing on the loss of her child less than one month after being discharged from their care.
The court contends that a hospital lien is a product of the lien law of New York §189 and is carefully described in circumstances prescribed by the statute. However, the lien law states that there are two elements that must be met before such a lien is even possible. First, there must be a causal relationship between the treatment that the person received and the accident that the person was admitted for. Secondly, the lien must be rendered within a week from the injury. Since neither of these elements are present in the current case, there is no showing that the lien can be enforced by the hospital. The Manhattan court determined that there was no valid reason to issue the hospital lien and the mother’s motion to discharge the lien is granted in all respects with no money due from her to the hospital.
In situations where there are specific legal grounds that must be met prior to any legal claims, it is important for each party involved to seek some sort of legal advice. In this case, the mother had a valid reason to want to determine how her infant died. She needed to know if the automobile accident played a significant part in the baby’s death. If this case were presented in the legal atmosphere of today, it is possible that a causal relationship would have been found.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its medical malpractice Lawyers there are convenient offices throughout New York State and Metropolitan area. Our birth injury Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Family Lawyer you could lose precious compensation to help your family.