Heather Hood, inf. by m/n/g Tracey Hood v. Northern Westchester Hospital Center; Anita Grover, M.D.; Robert Arrants, M.D.; Jodi Sutton, M.D.; and Hans Kunz, M.D.
Type of Injury
Defense verdict for Dr. Kunz (6/0). Defts. Grover and Sutton settled for $1,475,000 during trial. Northern Westchester Hospital settled for $250,000 during trial.
XI/7-16 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CHILDBIRTH INADEQUATE MONITORING CLAIMED BRAIN DAMAGE
Heather Hood, inf. by m/n/g Tracey Hood v. Northern Westchester Hospital Center; Anita Grover, M.D.; Robert Arrants, M.D.; Jodi Sutton, M.D.; and Hans Kunz, M.D. 16803/88 Verdict 7/23/93 Judge Alvin R. Ruskin, Westchester Supreme
VERDICT: Defense verdict for Dr. Kunz (6/0). Defts. Grover and Sutton settled for $1,475,000 during trial. Northern Westchester Hospital settled for $250,000 during trial. Deft. Arrants was discontinued before trial. Jury: 1 male, 5 female.
Pltf. Atty: Cleta McCormick of Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald, Yonkers
Deft. Atty: Robert D. Ryan of Rende, Ryan & Downes, White Plains, for Hospital
William S. Oleson of O’Connor, McGuinness, Conte, Doyle, Oleson & Collins, White Plains, for Grover, Arrants, and Sutton
John J. Pilkington of Pilkington & Leggett, White Plains, for Kunz
Facts: The infant Pltf. was born by Caesarean section on 9/5/84 at Deft. Hospital with multiple congenital abnormalities including two club feet, a high arched pallet, low set ears; excessive arches on her fingertips, a broad-bridged nose, and micrognathia (an abnormally small jaw). It was suspected that these deformities were caused by trisomy 18, an extra chromosome, but tests indicated that chromosomal karyotypes were normal.
Pltf. was delivered by Caesarean after a Pitocin drip was discontinued because of brow presentation. When the Pitocin was terminated, continuous monitoring of the fetal heart rate was also stopped . Pltf. contended that fetal heart rate strips indicated a loss of beat- to-beat variability and, therefore, Defts., the attending physicians ( settled for $1,475,000), should have continued the monitoring during the 2 hours before the child was born. She argued that the failure to perform adequate monitoring allowed fetal hypoxia to remain undetected. Pltf. also contended that the Caesarean should have been performed earlier and that Deft. Dr. Kunz (defense verdict) failed to quickly and properly resuscitate the infant.
Pltf. had Apgar scores of 5, 5, and 7, as scored by Dr. Kunz, and scores of 1, 1, and 2, scored by one of the attending nurses.
Defts. contended that Pltf. suffered from the partial agenesis of the corpus callosum (the imperfect development of the nerve fibers connecting the cortical hemispheres), and argued that this, along with her other congenital abnormalities, could be traced back to a malformation during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy.
Injuries: profound mental retardation with motor deficits. Pltf. is unable to walk or speak and must be fed through a gastrostomy tube. None of the experts diagnosed cerebral palsy. Demonstrative evidence: enlargements of medical records and illustrations. Offer: $100,000 by Dr. Kunz; demand: $350,000. Jury deliberation: 2 hours. Carrier: Medical Liability Mutual for Drs. Grover and Sutton; PRI for Dr. Kunz. Pltf. Experts: Dr. Morrison Levbarg, pediatrician, Manhattan; Dr. Sidney Siegel, ob-gyn, Lake Success; Claudia Anderson Beckmann, obstetrical R.N., Fox Point, Wisconsin; Dr. Leon Charash, pediatric neurologist, Hicksville; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan; Seymour Barcun, Ph.D ., economist, Edison, New Jersey. Deft. Experts: Dr. Kwame Yeboa, geneticist, Manhattan; Dr. Hart Peterson, pediatric neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. James Howard, ob-gyn, White Plains; Dr. Michael Weintraub, neurologist, Briarcliff Manor, Manhattan; Dr. Robert Auld, pediatrician, Manhattan.v