The first time that Ruby Larkin filed a birth injury claim against obstetrician Dr. John Wagner and his employer, WGM Obstetrics and Gynecology PC, the jury found the doctor and his employer liable. But because they gave the child no damages for past and future pain and suffering, or for future lost earnings, a New York appeals court has ordered that a new trial be held.
The assertion in the original birth injury lawsuit accused the physician of having failed on November 10th, 2008 to order the appropriate prenatal tests that would have shown that the baby was in grave danger. The child was born by emergency cesarean section two days later suffering from “extreme anemia, had only a third of her normal blood volume, and suffered from, inter alia, cerebral palsy.”
Physician Found Liable for Birth Injury Had Attempted to Overturn Liability Finding
The story of Larkin’s daughter’s birth injury began on November 4th, when she was 37 weeks pregnant. After suffering a fall, she went to the hospital to have fetal monitoring done. That test showed normal results, but she was told to follow up with her physician.
Three days later she experienced two days of contractions, chills, fever, and nausea and went in to see Dr. Wagner on November 10th. At that time she claims to have told him that she was experiencing abdominal pain: the physician claims that she did not. He did not conduct electronic fetal monitoring. Two days the child was born with severe complications.
In reviewing the physician’s motion for judgment and the details of the case, the appeals court determined that there was “no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could possibly lead rational persons to the conclusion reached by the jury upon the evidence presented at trial.” They said that the lack of monetary damages “deviates materially from reasonable compensation” in light of the ample evidence presented of the child’s needs.