Dismissal of birth injury case is over-turned by Court of Appeals
Elijah Bennett suffered a veinous stroke at the time of his birth. His parents sued Sinai Hospital and David Stone, M.D., contending that the stroke was caused by "minimal prematurity" combined with preeclampsia, uterine hyperstimulation and "excessive pressure on the malleable fetal skull." They presented expert testimony by physician specialists who testified that Dr. Stone caused the stroke by a breach of the standard of care. The family's doctors testified Stone should have delivered Elijah by C-section when warned by the development of a "non-reassuring" fetal heart rate pattern; and testified that Stone's decision to instead administer Pitocin to stimulate the uterus to strengthen contractions allegedly resulted in undue compression and the veinous stroke.Although the family provided the trial judge with seven articles that supported their causation expert's opinions and additional articles that were relevant to the expert's opinion, the judge dismissed the case in response to the Defendants' argument that the Plaintiff's causation theory was not adequately supported by science.
The Court of Appeals over-turned this decision and returned the case to the lower court for further proofs and potential trial. It noted that the lower court judge exhibited a "profound misapprehension with respect to the basic factual underpinnings of plaintiff's case" and "abused its discretion" when it struck the expert's testimony.