There are few things more devastating than suffering the loss of an infant prior to birth, and when the death is caused by negligent medical care, parents often wish to hold the incompetent care providers accountable. Thus, many parents of infants who lost their lives due to inadequate care choose to pursue medical malpractice claims. Even if parents have valid claims, however, their case may nonetheless be dismissed if not properly asserted or supported. A recent New York appellate court opinion in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s ob-gyn case highlighted the importance of thorough and aggressive representation. If you suffered the loss of your child due to incompetent treatment by an obstetrician-gynecologist, it is in your best interest to meet with a skillful Syracuse obstetrician-gynecologist malpractice attorney to discuss what you must do to recover damages.
Factual and Procedural History of the Case
Allegedly, the plaintiff presented to the defendant hospital for treatment during her pregnancy. While she was at the defendant hospital, she underwent diagnostic tests, including a sonogram, pelvic examination, and fetal monitoring, all of which indicated that her unborn child was not in distress and that the plaintiff was not in labor. Unfortunately, however, the plaintiff’s child died prior to the plaintiff giving birth. The plaintiff proceeded to commence a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s negligence led to her child’s demise. The defendant moved to dismiss the case via summary judgment. The court granted the defendant’s motion, after which the plaintiff appealed. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.
Grounds for Dismissing a Birth Injury Case Via Summary Judgment
On appeal, the court explained that the plaintiff’s case was dismissed due to insufficiencies in the plaintiff’s pleadings and expert affidavit. First, the court noted that the expert affidavit set forth a new theory of liability in response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, which was impermissible. Further, the court stated that irrespective of the new theory of liability, which was not considered, the plaintiff’s expert affidavit failed to establish that a material issue of fact existed so as to require a trial. Specifically, the plaintiff’s expert did not address the conclusions or opinions of the defendant’s expert with regards to the sufficiency of care the plaintiff received when she presented to the defendant hospital. Further, the court found that plaintiff’s expert’s opinion that the plaintiff’s child would not have died in utero if the plaintiff performed certain tests was conclusory. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert failed to establish a nexus between the harm suffered and the alleged malpractice.