Defense Verdict in New York County

HPM&B received a defense verdict in New York County Supreme Court on February 19, 2013 on behalf of a major metropolitan hospital and a pediatric hematologist.

The infant-plaintiff was a Downs Syndrome patient who had previously developed a life threatening septicemia and pneumonia requiring extra corporeal membrane oxygenation and long term intubation, complicated by both venous and arterial strokes, in the presence of abnormal anticardiolipin antibodies and a genetic mutation which suggested an increased clotting risk.  Plaintiffs alleged that defendant pediatric hematologist negligently prescribed low dose aspirin to the infant-plaintiff over a long term and failed to appropriately monitor for gastric complications.  They claimed this caused the child to develop esophageal and stomach ulcerations and a pyloric outlet obstruction.  Plaintiff claimed the child was restricted to a life long diet of liquids or pureed foods only.

The defense argued that given the uncertain cause for the stroke and the need for post-stroke anticoagulation, low dose aspirin was the most conservative anti-thrombotic agent available and necessary for a minimum of 3-5 years after the stroke and possibly longer term as well.  The defendant routinely monitored the child’s hemoglobin and hematocrit and saw no evidence of bleeding.  Further, the infant plaintiff had last been seen some 8 months before he developed his acute gastric difficulties and no intervening complaints had been reported to the pediatric hematologist.  The defendant contended that pathologic specimens from gastric scopings showed that the gastritis was not caused by an infection, not the low dose aspirin.  

Senior partner Elizabeth Cornacchio represented the hospital and the pediatric hematologist at trial.