May 16, 2001 - Eleven Year Old Boy Awarded $107 Million In Suit Against Hospital
An 11-year-old boy won a $107.8 million award yesterday from a Bronx Supreme Court jury that found medical mistakes made shortly after his birth caused his cerebral palsy.
The jury found the Health and Hospitals Corp. and the Lincoln Hospital medical staffs negligent for letting an untreated infection spread to Agustin Ballinas' brain. "I'm so happy. This is finally justice," Carmen Ballinas, the boy's mother, said after the jury slapped the city with the second-largest medical malpractice award in state history.
Ken Larywon, the lawyer who handled the case for HHC, said he will appeal the verdict if the award isn't reduced. "The verdict is clearly excessive," Larywon said.
Agustin was born at Lincoln Hospital in September 1990, but neither an obstetrician nor a pediatrician was present during delivery, said the family's lawyer, Thomas Moore. The child was delivered by a midwife and wasn't examined by a pediatrician on his first day of life, Moore said.
After giving birth, Ballinas tested positive for group B strep, which can cause bacterial meningitis in newborns, the lawyer said. But doctors left Agustin exposed to the bacteria for 51 hours without checking whether he was infected. It wasn't until the child was 3 days old and his body ravaged by infection that doctors ordered a spinal tap and antibiotics.
"Even after the hospital knew about the infection from the test results . . . it took the hospital an additional 24 hours to administer antibiotics," Moore said.
Agustin, who wears leg braces and communicates by making sounds, will probably spend his life in a wheelchair and depend on others to help him dress and eat.
In cerebral palsy cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, review the medical procedures in question, and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate the birth record and injuries. If you or a loved one is a victim of cerebral palsy, call now at or CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don't delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.