NEW YORK – A jury has awarded $19.6 million to a couple who sued a hospital for medical malpractice after their baby was brain-damaged at birth and the mother was mutilated in the delivery.
The state Supreme Court jury in Queens awarded the money to Eun Sook Maing and her husband, Soo Maing, for injuries she and her baby suffered on Oct. 16, 1998, at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Manhattan.
The Maings' lawyer, Thomas Moore, said Daniel Maing was born with cerebral palsy after Dr. Po Ching Fong, a hospital resident, yanked at his head with forceps for 23 minutes until she pulled him through his mother's birth canal.
The boy, now 9, was born lifeless and severely oxygen-deprived and required emergency resuscitation because of the trauma to his head, Moore said.
The anesthesiologist "added insult to injury," the lawyer said, by inserting a breathing tube into the baby's esophagus, which carries food or liquid to the stomach, rather than into his windpipe and pumped oxygen into his stomach instead of his lungs.
During the delivery, Moore said, Fong ripped the mother's vaginal area to the point that a tear went to her rectum.
The lawyer said the tear repair required two physicians but one of them "inexplicably" left the delivery room.
He said Fong, unassisted, bungled the repair badly and the mother was left with a severe birth canal laceration.
Despite five surgical procedures since then to repair the area, said the lawyer, the woman has been left with excruciating scar tissue and pain.
"It was a violent, traumatic delivery that should never have happened," Moore said.
He said the baby was high in the birth canal and the doctors should have realized, "The only option was an emergency Caesarean section."
Moore said Eun Sook Maing, a 47-year-old jewelry designer, and her husband, a 57-year-old postal worker, had been trying to have a baby for eight years before she became pregnant.
Soo Maing came to this country from South Korea in 1984 and brought his bride from there in 1991, Moore said.
"The birth of their first child should have been the most joyous day of their lives, the first step toward starting a family," the lawyer said. "Instead, it was the first day of terror and pain that will be with them the rest of their lives."
The jury of three men and three women found St. Vincent's and its physicians responsible for the injuries after a three-week trial and one day of deliberation.
The jury awarded $12 million to the mother and $7.6 million to the child.
The lawyer for the hospital and the doctors, Charles Bach, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.