Xzavier Hyman, a four year old child from Staten Island, was recently awarded $510,000 in a Medical Malpractice action against the obstetrician-gynecologist responsible for delivering him.
Xzavier’s mother, Ms. Spicer, was going through a difficult birth so Xzavier’s doctor, Dr. Paul Heltzer, ordered the use of Pitocin, a drug which helps speed up delivery by inducing contractions, to help her along in the birthing process. Pitocin is commonly used for women who are having difficulty delivering their child. However, Dr. Heltzer made the mistake of administering the drug for too long which put stress on Xzavier’s brain, causing three or four strokes and three seizures within 10 hours of his birth.
Xzavier’s attorney’s successfully argued that Ms. Spicer was kept too long on Petocin, and her relentless contractions stressed Xzavier. Additionally, they argued that a Caesarean operation should have been performed several hours before Ms. Spicer gave vaginal birth to Xzavier. If these steps were taken, Xzavier’s injuries could have been avoided.
The delivery, and subsequent stokes and seizures, left Xzavier with permanent injuries. Xzavier still suffers from some speech and fine motor skill deficiencies, the gap in IQ between him and his peers has continued to widen, and his life expectancy was cut approximately six years.
Both Xzavier’s mother and attorney expressed joy that the verdict came down in their favor, but disappointment that the award was not higher. Many birth injury malpractice cases award damages far greater than the $510,000 that Xzavier received. Much of this is based on the ongoing medical bills that a child will face as he ages because of the injury.
It is worrisome that Xzavier’s medical bills may soon consume his $510,000 verdict and leave him with nothing but the injuries he suffered at birth. Only time will tell how serious Xzavier’s developmental delays really are, and the attorneys at Levin & Perconti hope that Xzavier is able to make a full recovery in the near future and live a healthy and normal life.