Medical Malpractice News: Oneida NY Doctor Sued Over Care of Pregnant Patient

01/07/2011 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Oneida, NY—A Canastota couple filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against an Oneida doctor, seeking punitive damages for “severe emotional distress, mental anguish and pain and suffering,” according to a Jan. 6, 2011 Oneida Daily Dispatch report. The civil suit, filed on Dec. 21 in Madison County Supreme Court, names Dr. Geoffrey L. Lucas, Dr. Mehri Del Pino, Women’s Health Associates and Oneida Healthcare Center as defendants.

The medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on behalf of Melissa and Morris Halladay, claimed Dr. Lucas was “reckless, egregious, grossly negligent, wanton and with absolute disregard for human life,” in the treatment of Melissa, who was pregnant at the time.

Melissa Halladay, who was pregnant in 2009, was a patient at Women’s Health Associates, where she was under the primary care of Dr. Lucas. According to the lawsuit, Halladay was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the later stages of her pregnancy.

When Mrs. Halladay was nearly 39 weeks pregnant, she went to Oneida Healthcare Center to report having experienced discharges. A urinalysis indicated Halladay’s blood sugar level was extremely high.

When Dr. Lucas was notified of Halladay’s high blood sugar level, he advised medical staff to send her home and tell her to drink more water and keep her feet up. The suit contends Dr. Luca did not evaluate his patient after being notified of her condition.

After Mrs. Halladay continued to experience discharges for six days, she called Oneida Healthcare Center’s emergency room multiple times to report her ongoing symptoms.

Upon doing so, a nurse merely told her to drink more water and keep her feet up. The nurse allegedly maintained that the symptoms were normal and that Halladay was dehydrated.

Halladay began having contractions on Oct. 15 and subsequently responded to OHC. Dr. Del Pino was on call that day and carried out Halladay’s treatment. However, according to the lawsuit, Del Pino and other medical staff were unable to find a fetal heartbeat.

The patient then underwent an examination, which revealed that her membranes had burst, leaving hardly any amniotic fluid. OHC staff members notified Dr. Lucas of his patient’s adverse condition, though it allegedly took him an hour to arrive at the hospital and confirm that the unborn baby had no heartbeat.

The medical malpractice suit goes on to claim that although doctors were aware that Halladay had a narrow pelvis and was expected to deliver a stillborn, they still chose to continue with a vaginal delivery.

The lawsuit contends Halladay’s labor was long and “excruciating.” She reportedly gave birth to a 9-pound stillborn baby that was “mangled” during delivery.

Though OHC Community Relations Director Mike Healy called Halladay’s experience an “extremely tragic and devastating situation for the family and everyone involved,” he would not comment on the pending litigation.

Kelly Strauss, business manager of Women’s Health Associates, also declined to comment on the medical malpractice lawsuit. The suit has yet to be served to the defendants, according to Madison County Clerk Ken Kunkel.

Dr. Lucas is on a leave of absence as he faces three felony charges, including “two counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, class C felonies, and one count of first-degree identity theft, a class D felony.”

The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

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Url: Sandra Quinlan: West Palm Beach Injury News