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New York Court Explains Application of Frye Test in Medical Malpractice Cases

Expectant parents rely on their obstetricians and gynecologists to protect the health of their unborn child and to ensure the child is delivered safely. Unfortunately, ob-gyns do not always provide adequate care, which can cause a child to sustain devastating and permanent injuries during birth. In the majority of cases, expert medical testimony is required to prove that the treatment provided deviated from the standard of care and therefore caused a child’s harm. Recently, a New York court explained when expert medical testimony should be barred under the Frye test, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her child suffered injuries at birth due to her ob-gyn’s negligent care.  If your child suffered injuries at birth due to the negligent care provided by your ob-gyn, it is vital to speak with a trusted Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation for your harm and the harm of your child.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff was treated by the defendant ob-gyn during the course of her pregnancy, and during the birth of her child on April 14, 2006. The child had normal Apgar scores at birth and appeared to be in good health. Reportedly, when the child was two to three months old, the mother noticed that the child did not move her right hand. Subsequently, an MRI performed in March 2007 revealed that the child suffered a chronic infarct in the left frontal lobe of her brain. Subsequent tests revealed the child had severe brain damage caused by a remote cerebral injury.

It is reported that following her child’s diagnoses, the plaintiff filed an ob-gyn malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s failure to properly manage her labor and delivery and failure to perform an emergency Cesarean section in a timely manner caused the child’s harm. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion seeking a Frye order prohibiting the plaintiff’s expert from testifying that the plaintiff suffered an intrapartum injury during labor and delivery, on the basis that it relied upon a novel theory that was not generally accepted by the medical community.

Frye Test

In any medical malpractice case, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s care departed from accepted and good medical practice and proximately caused the harm alleged. In most cases, this is established through expert medical testimony. When an expert sets forth a theory that relies on novel science, the opposing party can challenge the evidence through a Frye motion. When presented with a Frye motion a court will analyze whether the party seeking the admission of the evidence can establish its general acceptance within the relevant medical community. In the subject case, the court found that the plaintiff’s expert supported his theories through generally accepted scientific principles. As such, the court denied the defendant’s motion.

Speak with a Skillful Ob-Gyn Malpractice Attorney Regarding Your Case

While all injuries caused by inadequate medical care are troubling, injuries a child suffers due to ob-gyn malpractice are particularly heartbreaking. If your child sustained injuries at birth because of your ob-gyn’s malpractice, you should speak with a skilled ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking recourse for your damages. The diligent surgical malpractice attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP Personal Injury Lawyers will aggressively pursue any damages you may be able to recover, to assist you in caring for your child. We can be reached at 833-200-2000 or through our online form to schedule a meeting regarding your case.


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