The birth of a child should be one of the happiest days of anyone’s life, however, when that child is injured during their birth, it is heartbreaking. One such injury occurred on June 8, 1990 when a woman was taken to Kingston Hospital in New York. During her labor, the umbilical cord prolapsed and came out before the baby. This is a very dangerous situation because it cuts off oxygen to the infant and can cause the infant to be born with brain damage or even dead. In this case, the doctor put his arm up inside the mother to hold the baby off of the umbilical cord. The baby was in a breech position, coming out bottom first. The doctor ordered an immediate Cesarean section to get the baby out. However, it was 45 minutes before the surgery actually occurred. During that time, the doctor continued to try to hold the baby off of the prolapsed cord.
Several hours after the little baby girl was born, she was transferred to Albany Medical Center where she died on June 10, 1990. The parents of the baby filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital where she was born. They claim that the doctor failed to perform proper prenatal tests to determine the position of the infant prior to delivery. If the proper tests had been performed, the doctor would have known that the baby was breech and would have ordered a Cesarean section before she went into natural labor to safely remove the baby. They also contend that the delay in obtaining an operating room contributed to the death of their child.
The doctor from Suffolk County who delivered the baby, maintains that the child was not alive when she was born and that the only life signs were artificially stimulated by the resuscitation devices used in the hospital. The original trial court dismissed the medical malpractice lawsuit. The parents then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court agreed that the trial court should not have dismissed the initial lawsuit as it regards the causes of action for the mother. They did not agree that the father had any cause for action since he was not in any danger during the incident and would not have suffered any physical injury during the operation or the birth of the child.
The Westchester parents brought forth evidence from the ambulance personnel who transferred their child to the Albany hospital who stated that during transport, the baby woke up and cried. They also stated that the baby made grunting noises and was definitely alive at the time of the transport from one hospital to another. The Supreme Court agreed that the child was clearly alive since she did not die until two days after her birth. They also determined that the mother was entitled to almost all of the punitive damages that she sought to recover in the death of her child. Further, the mother sustained internal injury because of the doctor’s actions that may prevent her from ever being able to carry another child to term. The mother contends that she should receive compensation for these medically cognizable injuries that were the result of the doctor’s negligence. The court determined that the woman did not receive any injury beyond that which would normally be present at a normal birth and decided that the emotional distress that she claims to suffer because of these actions is not compensable with monetary compensation. The court allowed the case to go to trial on the other counts that the woman made with the exception of any counts that claim damages to the husband.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates a medical malpractice lawyer, is available in convenient offices located throughout New York and the Metropolitan area to respond to your call. Our birth injury Attorneys can provide you with good advice when you are drawing up your own will.