Tragically, just 40 minutes can make the difference between a healthy baby and a little girl who will never walk, never talk, never feed herself, never have a boyfriend, never get married…

In this case handled by Elmira medical malpractice attorney Jim Reed, the Labor and Delivery nurses hooked the Mom up to an electronic fetal monitor and then left the Mom unattended for 40+ minutes. Unfortunately, fetal monitors are absolutely no good if no one is there to read the results….

That’s why the standard of care for labor and delivery nurses requires nurses to review the monitor strips for the first 20 minutes that the mother is placed on the monitor. If all is OK after 20 minutes, the Mom can then be left unattended for short periods of time. If the strips are not OK, then the nurse is trained to immediately intervene and summon a doctor if necessary.

In this case, a careful review of the medical records revealed that the mother had been left totally unattended for the first 40+ minutes she was placed on the fetal monitor. As you might have guessed, the monitor strips were bad meaning that the baby was in trouble and needed immediate delivery. The problem is that no one was in the room to hear read the results and respond to the baby’s cries for help. As a result, the necessary C-section to rescue the baby was delayed by more than an hour causing the baby to suffer profound brain damage (Cerebral Palsy). The baby was rushed from the Corning Hospital to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, but the damage was already done. The baby had a permanent brain injury called Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) which means that the baby’s brain was deprived of oxygen at birth.

Despite the clear negligence on the part of the Corning Hospital staff nurses, the medical malpractice insurance carriers for the Hospital and the Guthrie Clinic (Guthrie now owns the Corning Hospital), stubbornly refused to settle the case. It was not until 2007, more than NINE years after the baby’s birth in August, 1998, that the lawyers for the malpractice insurance companies finally made any offer to settle the case. And it was not until after Steuben County Supreme Court Judge Joseph Latham actually set a firm trial date, that the carriers finally offered a present value amount of $2,400,000 to settle the case. By very sophisticated use of annuities, life insurance planning and a Supplemental Needs Trust, the expected payout of benefits to this little girl over her projected lifetime will be more than $20,000,000. It sounds like a lot of money but given the high cost of medical care and the 24/7/365 medical needs of this child over her lifetime, each and every penny will be necessary for her care.

As experienced medical malpractice attorneys know, there is no such thing as an “easy” medical negligence case. No matter how strong your case, the doctors, hospitals and their medical malpractice insurance carriers, defend these cases tooth and nail. They force you to spend year upon year and tens of thousands of dollars (we have invested more than $80,000 in some cases) prosecuting your case. Consequently, there is nothing more satisfying than to resolve a case in a manner that you know will benefit your deserving client for the rest of their lives…