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April 25, 2013

Jury awards family $2.1M in malpractice case

By Joe Mahoney
Cooperstown Crier

---- — A state Supreme Court jury has ordered the Bassett Healthcare Center to pay an Otsego County family $2.1 million because of a birth injury that the jurors determined resulted from medical malpractice, according to a law firm for the family.

The child, now 7 years old, suffered a permanent injury to her neck nerves and has limited mobility in her left arm, according to the Ziff Law Firm of Elmira.

“The jury found that the midwives at the hospital did not provide appropriate prenatal care for the girl’s mother, and midwife Patricia Brown caused the injury by pulling too hard on the baby’s head during delivery,” Christina Sonsire, attorney for the family, said.

The girl was not identified by the firm. The lawsuit was filed on her behalf by her mother, Dolores Brandenburg of Otego.

Reacting to the verdict, Brandenburg said: “It was a long and overwhelming journey. I am glad the process is finally over. Despite the limitations she has, I know my daughter will have a promising future.”

Bassett spokeswoman Karen Huxtable Hooker said the hospital had no immediate comment on the verdict.

“We need time to review the decision,” she said.

Sonsire said the injury to the girl resulted in Erb’s palsy, a type of paralysis suffered by a newborn during an abnormal or difficult childbirth or labor.

The case was presided over by Judge Donald O. Cerio.

The defendants — Brown, Bassett Healthcare and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown — were represented by John Pollock, a Binghamton lawyer.

Sonsire claimed the case will have national significance.

“Attorneys across the country were paying attention to this trial because the defendants claimed this injury happened before the girl was born,” she said in a statement. “The case will have significance in all future litigation of this type of case.”