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Delay in Delivery - Suit Filed 11 Years After Birth

CATEGORIES: Birth Injury Cerebral Palsy CASE LOCATION: Allegheny Co., PA. CLASSIFICATION: Multi-Million Recoveries

The Lienart Case

Mrs. Lienart had a normal uncomplicated pregnancy. She and her husband were expecting their fourth child. She had a regularly scheduled prenatal visit when she was 39 weeks gestation (into her pregnancy). She reported to her Obstetrician that she wasn’t feeling right, and so he sent her directly from that visit to get a Non Stress Test at St. Francis Hospital. At the hospital, she was connected to a fetal monitor to begin the non stress test and the nurse noticed that the fetal heart rate tracing was abnormal. She called the result back to the obstetrician’s office. Over the phone, the obstetrician ordered a Stat (emergency) C-section. His office was approximately 15 minutes away from the Hospital (by car) and so he expected the staff at St. Francis to begin the C-section immediately. Unfortunately, his message was misinterpreted at the Hospital. Although Mrs. Lienart was immediately prepared for the C-section, the available resident on duty believed that he was supposed to wait for the obstetrician to get to the hospital to begin the C-section. Consequently, a team of physicians surrounded Mrs. Lienart in the operating room ready to perform the necessary C-section. They all waited about a half hour for the obstetrician to arrive. When he did get to the hospital, he was surprised to learn that the C-section had not yet begun. When he learned this, he raced down a hall, got out of his business suit and dressed in scrubs, then performed the C-section. Unfortunately, by the time the baby was delivered, she was suffering from a lack of oxygen to her brain, fetal hypoxia. The fetal hypoxia left the baby with permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Like many parents confronted with the enormous task of caring for a brain injured infant, the Lienarts were too consumed by their parental responsibilities during the first years of baby girl Lienart’s life to be concerned about theirs or baby girl Lienart’s legal rights in obtaining compensation for the negligently delayed C-section. By the time they looked into the matter, they were incorrectly informed that they had waited too long to pursue a legal remedy. They were told that the statute of limitations, the time they had to file suit for medical malpractice, had expired two years after their baby’s birth.

Years later, when Katlyn was 11, her father met a mother of a recent newborn who suffered a brain injury at birth. He told her not to make the same mistake that he did and have an attorney look into the matter before the 2-year statute of limitations expired. That mother came to Harry S. Cohen & Associates and had the lawyers obtain birth records to review for potential medical malpractice. In discussions with the attorneys, she relayed the discussion with Mr. Lienart. The woman was told that the statute of limitations for a minor does not expire until the child reaches the age of 20; and the woman relayed that information to Mr. Lienart. Mr. Lienart then had the records of Katlyn’s birth reviewed by Harry S. Cohen & Associates who determined that Katlyn’s injury was indeed preventable. Suit was then filed against the obstetrician and The Hospital.

Following a lengthy trial, a multi-million dollar settlement was reached on behalf of Katlyn Lienart.

After the settlement, Harry S. Cohen & Associates aided the family in setting up a special needs trust for the child. Mr. Lienart, Katlyn’s father happened to be a contractor with an expertise in the construction of accessible building. The trust then assisted in the funding of the purchase and renovation of a totally accessible home for the family so Katlyn will be able to reside there for the entirety of her life. The trust also funds for a lifetime necessary purchases to make the victim’s life as good as money can, such as the periodic purchase of a van, constant therapies and a lifetime income.