Prenatal care is the health care provided while a person is pregnant. A failure to provide proper prenatal care can lead to injuries not only to the child’s parent but also to the child in their earliest stages of development. A woman brought a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, on behalf of her son, alleging that two of her doctors failed to provide proper prenatal care, resulting in her child’s cerebral palsy. The Second Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division agreed with the plaintiff that there was a triable issue concerning whether the doctors had breached their standard of care.The plaintiff sued the doctors after her son, who has cerebral palsy, was born. The plaintiff, during her pregnancy, developed a condition known as preeclampsia, which is a condition connected with hypertension and organ damage that can lead to complications during pregnancy, including harm to a fetus. Her doctors tried to treat her condition but ultimately decided to deliver the baby once the fetal heart rate started to slow down. The plaintiff’s complaint alleged that the doctors failed to perceive the warning signs of her condition and failed to provide the proper treatment after she went to the hospital.
Expert testimony is crucial to presenting medical malpractice claims. Both defendants and plaintiffs rely on the testimony of experts because a determination of negligence requires the examination of technical medical details.
The defendants moved for summary judgment and submitted witness testimony and affidavits that they had acted in accordance with the standard of care for specialists in their field (obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine). The court noted that there was no other expert testimony that would help establish that they satisfied the standard of care. The court concluded that the expert testimony was conclusory, and therefore they failed to meet the burden of proof required to grant the defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
Moreover, the plaintiff had her own expert, who asserted evidence that the doctors had in fact breached their standard of care. This would create a triable issue of fact and, according to the court, further supported that this case could not be resolved in summary judgment.
For many women, pregnancy is a vulnerable time in life. Complications can arise at any stage, and it is critical for health care providers to detect and treat any adverse conditions. Negligent prenatal care can lead to serious consequences for both the mother and the baby. To speak with a Rochester-based attorney about your case, call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers at 315-479-9000 or contact us online. We offer evening and weekend appointments as well as home and hospital visits.
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