Sylvia Tawiah, as m/n/g of Jessica Joffie v. Milton Haynes, M.D.
Type of Injury
ERB’S PALSY AND FRACTURED HUMERUS
Defense verdict (5/1)
XIII/41-5 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CHILDBIRTH ERB’S PALSY AND FRACTURED HUMERUS
Sylvia Tawiah, as m/n/g of Jessica Joffie v. Milton Haynes, M.D. 15172/91 2-week trial Verdict 3/12/96 Judge Barry Salman, Bronx Supreme
VERDICT: Defense verdict (5/1). Post-trial motions were denied. Jury: 3 male, 3 female.
Pltf. Atty: Kevin S. McDonald of Queller & Fisher, Manhattan
Deft. Atty: John T. Evans of Belair & Evans, Manhattan
Facts: The infant Pltf. was born at Lenox Hill Hospital on 10/6/89. Deft. was the attending obstetrician. Pltf. claimed that Deft. failed to properly deliver the child when he recognized the presence of shoulder dystocia. The infant was born with severe Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s paralysis of the left arm and hand. Pltf. claimed that Deft. used excessive lateral traction while delivering the child’s head, causing nerve damage to the brachial plexus. She contended that the fact that the infant also suffered a fractured humerus was proof that Deft. used excessive force.
Deft. contended that he was faced with a medical emergency and that he used various recognized maneuvers to deliver the child. He also denied that he used excessive lateral traction in the delivery.
Injuries: Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s paralysis of the left arm and hand; avulsion fracture of the left proximal humerus (diagnosed by X-ray shortly after birth); cosmetic deformity. Pltf. claimed that she will have no useful function of the left arm and hand. Pltf. also contended that she will suffer a 20% diminution in her earning capacity. Deft. denied that Pltf. will have any diminution in future earnings. Demonstrative evidence: medivisual of shoulder dystocia; model of pelvis. Specials: $10,000. Offer: $200,000; demand: $1,500,000. Jury deliberation: 5 hours. Carrier: PRI. Pltf. Experts: Dr. David Sherman, ob-gyn, Manhattan; Dr. Leon Charash, pediatric neurologist, Hicksville; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan. Deft. Expert: Dr. James Lemmon, ob-gyn, East Orange, New Jersey; Dr. Richard Reuben, pediatric neurologist, Manhattan.