On August 25, 2011 Erica Abreu was admitted to Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx for an elective Caesarean section.
The delivery, by two obstetrician-gynecologists, took only about 15 minutes and Stanley Pina was born without any complications except for a laceration on his cheek. Mother and child were discharged to home three days later.
In her ensuing medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of her son, Ms. Abreu contended that the two doctors negligently caused the laceration when they entered the uterine cavity with a scalpel without knowing the location of the head. On May 21, 2015, the Bronx jurors agreed and they awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $400,000 ($150,000 past – four years, $250,000 – 21 years).
The trial judge denied defendants’ motion to set aside the verdict on liability grounds or to reduce it as excessive. On appeal in Pina v. Chuang (1st Dept. 2017), both the liability and damages verdicts have been affirmed.
Here is a photo of the infant plaintiff introduced at trial as an exhibit:
Here are the injury details:
- 3 centimeter long laceration treated immediately following delivery by stitches while under local anesthesia (the sutures dissolved on their own)
- Two weeks of home treatment cleaning and applying ointment
- Permanent, though barely visible, scar
Both sides presented plastic surgery experts who agreed that (a) the scar was not very visible and (b) no future treatment is recommended. Plaintiff’s expert, Robert A. Guida, M.D., testified that the scar could be surgically excised, treated with a laser or injected with steroid medication but he found the risks involved with each of these procedures outweigh the benefits. Defendants’ expert, Burt Greenberg, M.D., testified that the scar could be permanent but it would not at all be painful.
- From the date of his discharge from the hospital through the date of the trial, the infant received no further treatment for his laceration and scar.
- Ms. Abreu testified that she is concerned that “one day he [her son] would try to get a job and since he’s a minority they are going to look at him a different way because he has a scar on his face.”