Every new mom has trepidation about the labor and delivery process. However, with competent medical professionals given the proper tools and staff to oversee the process, women in America should have every reason to feel confident in a positive outcome.
Sometimes, unfortunately, there are exceptions.
Manhattan medical malpractice lawyers recognize that the standard of proof in these cases is especially high, which is why it is imperative that those considering a lawsuit choose their law firm carefully.
One must first meet the strict statute of limitations for timely filing. Beyond that, it isn’t enough to prove that the actions of the doctor caused injury to you or your infant. In order to prove negligence in these cases, your attorney must provide ample evidence to the court – in the form of a medical expert qualified in the same field as the defendant – that the defendant’s conduct fell beneath the professional standard expected.
In the recent case of Maria Pilar Bustos v Lenox Hill Hospital, the New York Court of Appeals determined the plaintiff had not met this burden, upholding an earlier ruling by the lower appellate division.
While many birth injury claims pertain to the infant, this claim focused on injury sustained by the mother. According to her complaint, which was filed against the hospital and two physicians in 2005, she reportedly suffered a condition called symphysis pubis diastasis, which is a separation or dislocation of normally-joined pubic bones, absent a fracture.
There are some cases in which this painful condition can occur as a result of normal pregnancy or shortly after giving birth. Treatment typically requires extensive physical therapy and pain medication.
However in this situation, the plaintiff alleged the condition was the result of excessive force used by the OBGYN in the delivery room. It was her second child, and she claimed the doctors directed her to perform overly-strenuous birthing maneuvers while she was under the effect of an excessive dose of anesthesia.
The trial court initially ruled that the plaintiff’s affidavit of fact was sufficient to raise triable issues of fact as to whether the defendants’ care and treatment before, during and after delivery departed from the acceptable standards of obstetric care.
The defense claimed her injuries could not have been caused by the doctor’s actions. A jury disagreed, and awarded her $5.5 million.
However, the case was later reversed upon appeal, and more recently, that decision was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals.
The lower appellate court reasoned that the only expert to testify on behalf of the plaintiff, indicating a deviation from the acceptable standard of care, “did not explain or in any other way support his opinion.” He simply stated that the actions were excessive and, in his opinion, caused the injuries. Therefore, the court reasoned, the expert’s testimony was speculative and without probative force.
Further, this same expert conceded that the dosage of anesthesia given to the patient was “standard and appropriate.”
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Maria Pilar Bustos v Lenox Hill Hospital, May 1, 2014, New York Court of Appeals
More Blog Entries:
Timely, Proper Filing of Medical Malpractice Claim is Critical, Jan. 8, 2014, Manhattan Medical Malpractice Lawyer Blog