MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VERDICT
C., An Infant, by her Mother and Natural Guardian, STEPHANIE B., v. PAYMAN PAUL JARRAHY MD, GEDDIS ABEL-BEY MD, NEW YORK HOSPITAL QUEENS, CONTEMPORARY OB/GYN HEALTH CARE INC. and DR GEDDIS ABEL-BEY JR MD PC.
Court: Queens Supreme, Index #22788/12
Judge: Leonard Livote
Verdict Date: Dec. 14, 2015
Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Randy B. Nassau; The Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C., Yonkers, NY
Defense Attorneys: Gerard J. Marulli; Marulli, Lindenbaum & Tomaszewski, LLP).
Facts: Stephanie B. was admitted to New York Hospital of Queens at approximately noon on March 29, 2008 with contractions. Her pregnancy had required hospitalizations for kidney infections. Gestational age was 37 weeks. An initial exam at 1:15 p.m. noted her to be 3 cm. dilated. At 1:30 she was 4-5 cm. with increased contractions and a reassuring FHR.
Defendant, Dr. Geddis Abel-Bey was covering for her primary physician, Dr. Jarrahy. Immediately after the exam at 1:15 p.m., he ordered a Pitocin augmentation which was started at 2:45 p.m. Shortly thereafter the contractions became more frequent and tachysystole was observed with approximately 6 – 8 contractions within each 10 minute period. The tachysystole continued and at 4:12 p.m. the fetal heart rate showed multiple deep decelerations with slow recovery and a baseline had dropped to the 90s. This continued for 17 minutes of partial prolonged hypoxia.
At 4:29 p.m. Dr. Abel-Bey administered Terbutaline and stopped the Pitocin which resulted in an immediate change in the fetal heart rate and a return to a normal baseline.
Intrauterine resuscitation was performed for three hours prior to delivery at 7:24 p.m. and J.C. was given Apgars of 8&9. J.C. was admitted to the regular nursery; however on DOL 2, mother noticed seizure activity and transfer was made to NICU and phenobarbital administered. An EEG showed seizure activity.
The first imaging studies were found to be normal; however an MRI with DWI performed on April 4, 2008 showed bilateral brain damage. J.C. has spastic diplegia, she is unable to ambulate. She is blind.
Prior to trial New York Hospital Queens settled for $3 million and the case was discontinued against the hospital and Dr. Jarrahy. Medical Liability Mutual, the carrier for Dr. Abel-Bey, took a no-pay position against plaintiff’s demand for the $2.3 million policy limits and the case proceeded to trial against Dr. Abel-Bey.
The Jury found that Dr. Abel-Bey made four departures from accepted medical practice:
- Ordering and administering Pitocin;
- Failing to closely monitor J.C.’s fetal heart rate;
- Failure to timely administer Terbutaline; and
- Failing to timely respond to and correct tachysystole.
Each of the departures were found to be a substantial factor in causing injury to J.C.
Although the jury also found departures against New York Hospital Queens, they found that none of those departures contributed to J.C.’s injury. Dr. Abel-Bey was found to be 100% liable by the jury. The jury made the following awards for damages:
- Past pain and suffering $1.5 million;
- Wheelchair $1,500;
- Past Elecare $91,000;
- Future pain and suffering $10,000,000 for 90 years;
- Future nursing care $350,400 for 90 years increasing at 2.2%;
- Future OT, PT, ST, vision T and feeding T, were each awarded $10,800 per year for 90 years increasing at 2.4%.
- Private education $50,000 per year for 14 years increasing at 3.5%;
- Specially equipped vehicle $5,000 per year for 90 years increasing at 2%
- Lost earnings $64,537 a year for 35.6 years beginning in 2030 and increasing at 2.2%
- Future Elecare $13,000 per year for 90 years increasing at 2%.
The total award was $134,160,337.54. In addition, by stipulation the collectible Medicaid lien will be added to the judgment. The Medicaid lien is $1,009,052.36 as of Dec. 21, 2015.
Dr. Gary Brickner, OB/GYN;
Dr. Robert Kirkwood, Neuroradiology;
Dr. Daniel Adler, Pediatric Neurology; and
Dr. Michael Soudry, Economic.
Dr. Michael Cabbad, Maternal Fetal Medicine.
*Reduced to present value of $24.6-million.