Frederick George Ledogar III was born at a St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Smithtown on June 4, 1969. His mother was cared for by Dr. John J. Giordando, an obstetrician at the hospital. She went into labor at 11:45 am. The labor pains continued until approximately 5:45 pm in the afternoon. Around that time Dr. Julius Grieco, another obstetrician took charge of his mother and continued to treat her until 10:25 pm that night. At 10:25 pm, Dr. Giordando decided to perform a Caesarean on her and Frederick George Ledogar III was born at about 11 pm.
A reporter said that Frederick Ledogar suffered severe and permanent personal injuries as the result of the negligence of doctors who were looking after his mother on June 4, 1969. At the time of his birth Frederick was suffering from hypoxia a medical condition that results in diminished amount of oxygen in the blood and can cause brain damage. Seeing his condition, Dr. Albert Sabinsky, a pediatrician who was present at the time of the birth, suctioned his mouth and nose but when Dr. Sabinsky left the hospital, Frederick’s condition worsened. He turned blue on the third day after birth.
When he grew up, Frederick filed a lawsuit against the doctors claiming that due to the hypoxia at the time of birth, he has been afflicted with autism. The jury ruled in his favor. The fault was apportioned amongst Dr. Greico, Dr. Sabinsky and the hospital. The jury also found Dr. Giordando negligent but held that his negligence did not contribute to the baby’s condition. The jury awarded Frederick $600,000 in damages. Subsequently at a post trial motion, the court held that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence but entered a judgment and dismissed the compliant. According to a report, the correct course of action in such cases is to order a new trial but the court dismissed the compliant. Frederick then filed an appeal. The appeal court modified the judgment, reinstated the jury’s verdict as to liability and ordered a new trial on the issue of damages. The appeal court did not agree with the two doctors Dr. Greico and Dr. Sabinsky and the hospital that the records did not have sufficient proof to support the verdict.
According to a source, the issue of causation in a medical malpractice lawsuit can be very difficult. Often expert testimony is required in support of the plaintiff’s case. In this case an expert obstetrician testified in support of Frederick’s claim. According to the expert, the doctors were negligent as they did not perform the Caesarian section at an earlier time. The expert witness also testified that the hospital staff deviated from established standard of care when it failed to monitor Frederick’s heart beat at least every 15 minutes. The expert further testified with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Frederick suffered hypoxia during labor and the hospital’s failure to monitor his heart beat resulted in the hypoxia not being detected while he was still in his mother’s womb. A timely detection would have resulted in an earlier Caesarian section.
Based on the expert testimony, the court found the hospital negligent but not criminal. The appeal court upheld the jury’s finding that Dr. Grieco was negligent because Dr. Grieco was looking after Frederick’s mother in the latter half of the day when the baby was more likely to have suffered hypoxia.
The defendants claimed that there was no causal connection between the alleged hypoxic events before and after birth and the autistic condition from which Frederick now suffers. This was rebutted by a neurologist who testified that hypoxia at the time of birth can significantly contribute to autism in later life. According to a juror the fact that the expert acknowledges that the plaintiff’s condition could have been caused by other causes does not warrant a finding that causation was not proved. In medical negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff does not have to eliminate the probability that his condition resulted from factors other than the negligence of the defendants. The appeal court found that the trial court erred in not allowing the jury to consider either (1) pain and suffering or (2) loss of future earnings, in determining a fair measure of compensation.
A rep said that loss of future earnings is a proper item of damages, even for an infant plaintiff. In this case, the records indicated a fair degree of pain and suffering. The infant need not be able to fully appreciate the consequences of his injury or to verbalize his pain. In determining the damages, the jury can consider the effects of the infant’s condition on the normal pursuits and pleasures of life.
There are a lot of cases like this where the trial court may reject a complaint. If your birth injury lawsuit has been rejected by trial court, a New York birth injury lawyer can assist you file an appeal and prevail in the appeal court.
When you hire Stephen Bilkis & Associates to fight you birth injury lawsuit, you can rest assured that they will defend your position and present it so you can get all the damages that is due to you. If you or someone close to you has suffered a birth injury, call us at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW, and we start work as soon as we talk to you. We handle cases from anyone in New York and Long Island.