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.
There is no doubt that this new father suffered greatly watching his baby boy born, only to realize that the child was strangling to death. The father is not to be blamed, he simply was not trained to handle the situation. The fact that the doctor had administered labor inducing drugs and then left without ensuring that the mother would be monitored is against current New York law which states that once the doctor from Queens or Staten Island has administered a labor inducing drug, he or she is required to monitor the patient’s progress constantly until the child is born. Constantly does not count as in the hall, locker room, or cafeteria. It requires that the doctor monitor the patient. In this case, the doctor failed to monitor the patient and she went into active labor as a result of the inducing drugs.
The argument is that if the trained staff had been present at the time that the child was born, the umbilical cord could have been removed from his neck before he incurred any injury. The infant was born alive and would have remained alive. This medical malpractice action is an example to every one of the need for proper legal counsel in handling these types of circumstances.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates their medical malpractice lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Our birth injury Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations.