Articles Posted in Obstetric Malpractice

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Many pregnant women treat with ob-gyns throughout their pregnancy, to monitor both their health and the health of their unborn child. As part of this care, ob-gyns routinely perform ultrasounds, to scan for abnormalities. In a recent case arising out of the death of a pregnant woman due to complications following a third-trimester abortion, the court analyzed whether a plaintiff should be granted leave to amend a complaint in response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to ob-gyn malpractice it is crucial to retain a Rochester ob-gyn malpractice attorney adept at helping injured parties seek compensation for their harm.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent visited the defendant ob-gyn for an ultrasound when she was 20 weeks pregnant. During the ultrasound, an anatomy scan was performed. The defendant determined the results of the scan were normal, but noted some asymmetry, and recommended a repeat scan. A second scan was performed eight weeks later, during which it was noted that the fetus had severe abnormalities. An MRI was subsequently conducted, after which it was noted that the fetus had a poor prognosis. The decedent then underwent counseling after which she elected to terminate her pregnancy.

Allegedly, a week after the MRI the decedent underwent a procedure to terminate the pregnancy, which took four days. The day after the decedent was discharged her condition deteriorated. She died the following day. Following an autopsy, it was determined that her cause of death was disseminated intravascular coagulation caused by an amniotic fluid embolus following the termination of her pregnancy.

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In a New York medical malpractice case, the burden shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant and then back to the plaintiff, with regards to proving whether the defendant caused the harm alleged. In many cases, after discovery is completed, the defendant will file a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case in its entirety on the basis that the plaintiff has insufficient evidence to support his or her claims. A New York court recently assessed whether the defendants were entitled to summary judgment, in a case in which the plaintiffs alleged the defendants committed obstetric malpractice by failing to diagnose the plaintiff child’s chromosomal disorder prior to birth. If your child was born with a condition or disorder that should have been diagnosed prior to his or her birth you should consult a skillful Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover damages.

Factual Background of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff child was born with Cri Du Chat Syndrome (CDC).  The plaintiff parents filed a lawsuit against the defendant hospital and defendant obstetrician, alleging that the defendant obstetrician committed medical malpractice by failing to discover the plaintiff child’s CDC prior to birth. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to address results of a blood test that indicated a potential chromosomal defect, failed to perform invasive genetic testing, and failed to perform sonograms after the 32ndweek of pregnancy to rule out intrauterine growth restriction. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the case.

Standard for Granting Motion for Summary Judgment

The court noted that the defendant met the initial burden of showing their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting an expert affirmation stating that the defendant doctor did not depart from the appropriate standard of care. The court held, however, that the plaintiffs’ reply was adequate to overcome the defendants’ expert opinion.

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Generally, a party alleging obstetric malpractice is entitled to the disclosure of any facts and information that is necessary and material to pursue a lawsuit. While the policy typically favors liberal discovery, there are some privileges that provide exceptions to the general rule. For example, Education Law § 6537(3) protects certain information produced by a hospital performing a medical malpractice or quality assurance review. Recently, a New York appellate court analyzed the discrete issue of whether a defendant in an obstetric malpractice lawsuit can be compelled to testify regarding statements made by another defendant in a meeting protected by § 6537(3). If your child suffered injuries at birth because of insufficient obstetric care, it is essential to engage a seasoned Rochester obstetric malpractice attorney regarding the care that led to your child’s harm and what evidence you may be able to obtain to support your claim.

Testimony Regarding the Plaintiff’s Care

It is alleged that the plaintiff mother was admitted to the defendant hospital for induction of labor. The plaintiff infant was delivered via an emergency cesarean section later the same day. The plaintiffs allege that due to obstetric malpractice during the course of labor and delivery the plaintiff infant suffered permanent and severe injuries, including brain damage. The plaintiffs brought an obstetric malpractice lawsuit against the defendant nurse, defendant doctor, and defendant hospital.

Reportedly, during the deposition of the defendant nurse, the plaintiffs’ attorney questioned the defendant nurse regarding what the defendant doctor stated during the subsequent quality assurance meeting to review the events that transpired during the plaintiff infant’s birth. The defendants’ attorney objected to the question on the grounds that the information was protected by Education Law § 6537(3). The plaintiffs then filed a motion to compel the defendant nurse to testify regarding the meeting.
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