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Mother’s Medical Malpractice Suit for Premature Labor Dismissed Due to Statute of Limitations


Anytime that a baby suffers a birth injury it is a traumatic experience for everyone involved. Sometimes, a birth injury is an act of medical malpractice. In that case, it is even more traumatic for the family. In one case which occurred at Harlem Hospital Center on October 23, 1997. A woman came into the hospital suffering from symptoms of early onset labor. She was only 28 weeks pregnant. The doctors gave her tocolytics in an attempt to stop her labor. However, the administration of the medication was not successful and her labor continued. The baby boy was born severely premature. The doctors advised the mother that the baby was born with an intestinal condition that required immediate surgery. She permitted the surgery on the baby.

A New York Injury Lawyer said the doctors at Harlem Hospital Center performed a left hemicolectomy and a temporary colostomy. The baby remained in the hospital until January 28, 1998 while he suffered from ongoing problems with his intestines. After being discharged from the hospital, the baby continued to have serious problems with his bowels and on January 8, 1999, the doctors at Harlem Hospital Center performed an anorectal pull through and colostomy closure. The child continued to have problems and continued to be a patient at the hospital off and on through the next several years, until 2001.

In 2001, his mother felt that it was time to get a second opinion because she had begun to doubt that the care that her son was receiving at Harlem was in his best interest. She took him to New York Presbyterian Hospital for an evaluation. At that time the doctors there informed her that the anorectal pull through had been performed improperly. On September 22, 2006, the child underwent intestinal surgery at Presbyterian to correct the damage that they told her had been done at Harlem.

The mother eventually filed two medical malpractice claims against the doctors at Harlem. A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said that one was that they failed to stop her premature labor that resulted in the child being delivered too early. Secondly, that the treatment and surgeries that were performed on the child due to his premature birth were conducted improperly so as to cause him undue pain and suffering. Since she filed her motions after the time limit that is determined by law, she had to file a request under General Municipal Law ยง50-e(1) for an extension to the 90 day limit. In her request for leave to file a late claim, the mother stated that the reason for the delay in filing was due to the fact that she was not aware that there had been medical malpractice involved in the case until the doctors at Presbyterian notified her.

The Court determined that the mother had notice of the possible medical malpractice from the time that she began taking the child to Presbyterian in 2001. However, a Bronx Personal Injury Lawyer said it was not until nine years later that she filed her lawsuit. The court was concerned that if they allowed a nine year old case to go forward that it would pose an undue hardship on the hospitals and doctors to investigate a case so long after the injury. Many if not all of the employees who were present at the procedures are no longer employed by the hospital and they would have to attempt to locate them. The hospital claimed that the inability to locate and present certain witnesses could prejudice a jury against them. The court agreed and determined that the petition is denied in its entirety.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in a timely fashion is critical. Stephen Bilkis & Associates, New York medical malpractice attorneys can help you determine what time constraints are recorded in the statutes. We are located in convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. A New York medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and determine if there is a triable issue of fact surrounding the events of your child’s birth.

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