New York Jury Awards $3 Million In Newborn Cerebral Palsy Case

Birth Injury

Marlayna Kineke, now almost 18 years old, has a very different life today than she should have. She suffers from cerebral palsy and other major health issues all resulting from a doctor’s negligence during her birth. On January 28th, 2012, a Warren County jury (Lake George) found that the OB/GYN “deviated from the acceptable standard of care” which was a “substantial factor” in Marlayna’s injuries. They awarded her $3 million dollars in damages to be put into a trust for her care for the rest of her life.

According to testimony at trial, what happened was the OB/GYN was called to the hospital at about 5 a.m. the morning of the birth for an emergency Cesarean section. However, the doctor did not arrive until 7 a.m. and the surgery began at 8:14 a.m. Plaintiff argued that this is what caused the brain injury, because the baby was suffering from fetal hypoxia (also known as intrauterine hypoxia). This is when the baby rapidly losses oxygen before birth, and is very hard to detect even with the most advanced medical equipment. Too long of a deprivation leads to permanent and irreversible brain injury.

The hospital records showed that it was this delay, because the umbilical cord was compressed, which caused the hypoxia. Further, this would have been alleviated if the doctor did not unnecessarily delay the survey by three to four hours. There was no significant justification for the delay other than the C-section may have caused complications to the mother, who was severely obese. Moreover, the Plaintiff alleged that the doctor was one of two who should have been at the hospital and should not have left; it is unclear if these two doctors were on call as the OB/GYNs for the night or not.

I hate cases like this. Particularly when there are excuses on top of excuses regarding the mistreatment of the patient. Attorney Greg Mills, who represented the patient, acknowledged that $3 million “sounds like a lot of money, but it has to pay for her care for the rest of her life.” This is why I cringe when people attack the tort reform and these high payouts. You are JUST harming the victims of medical malpractice if you have caps on recoveries!!! This should serve as a strong lesson to this OB/GYN and others to stay sharp and ever vigilant on their duties as a physician. Particularly because the doctor’s medical malpractice insurance will cover about $2 million, which means he will be liable to pay the other $1 million out of his own pocket!

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