Occasionally, in New York or another state, the defendants in medical negligence
cases admit liability and focus on the process of trying to minimize the
amount of the damages to be paid. In cases where there is gross negligence
or a dramatic injury to a sympathetic patient, the strategy generally
pays off by keeping a good part of the facts of the medical malpractice
away from the jury’s attention. This is only done by defense counsel
in a limited number of cases that are assessed to be ‘ticking time
bombs,’ with a smoldering potential for a very large verdict.
In one case in another state, the defendant hospital, located in Michigan,
admitted to negligence and ultimate monetary liability. The case involved
a newborn baby, now age four, who suffered severe brain damage after a
botched post-birth procedure conducted by the medical providers right
after she was born. The baby was initially delivered in apparently fair
health and with her normal cognitive faculties intact.
However, due to what appeared to be a case of jaundice, the medical personnel
decided to perform an “exchange transfusion.” This involved
the taking of blood from her body by intravenous tube and simultaneously
replacing it with fresh blood introduced through another tube. The procedure
ended in a horrific catastrophe when air leaked into the bloodstream and
caused a deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain.
The parents later were told that this deprivation of oxygen lasted over
30 minutes. The parents filed suit on behalf of their daughter. The trial
on damages only was set to begin on Monday, Aug. 4. The attorneys for
the parties, however, engaged in forthright negotiations and obtained
a settlement just prior to trial for an undisclosed amount. The procedure
utilized when a defendant admits liability in a medical malpractice case
is generally the same in all jurisdictions, including in New York.
Source: mlive.com, "Spectrum Health, parents reach settlement in malpractice
case over infant's brain injury", Sue Thoms, Aug. 4, 2014