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$100 Million for Staten Island Teen Injured in Premature Birth


Posted on Sep 02, 2012

Last week, a Staten Island family won the "largest verdict in the history of Staten Island" over injuries sustained from negligence during the birth of a girl who is now 17 years old.

Stephanie Debes was born seventeen years ago at St. Vincent's Medical Center on Staten Island with her twin Amanda. Both were born three months premature. While Amanda is fine, Stephanie suffered a brain injury during delivery and now has cerebral palsy.

According to the NY Post, the family alleges that hospital staff failed to listen to the mother when they gave her Benadryl and forced her husband to go home. They also claimed that the hospital failed to notice her premature contractions before she went into labor.

Stephanie is now compelled to miss out on the normal activities her sister is lucky to engage in.

Two doctors were not held liable, but the Staten Island jury determined that St. Vincent's hospital (now closed) was responsible for $17 million for past pain and suffering, $60 million in future pain and suffering, and a sum for future medical expenses and lost wages. According to the family's lawyer, the total payout is over $103 million. The hospital's lawyer, on the other hand, says the total is less than $100 million.

The defense plans to appeal on the ground that Stephanie was born at 1 pound, 12 ounces, and was thus extremely premature and vulnerable and that the hospital did the best it could under the circumstances.

Because St. Vincent's is currently in bankruptcy proceedings, the payout will be limited to the $16 million its insurance can pay.

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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer