Jury Enters $50 Million Verdict for Horribly Injured Mother in Botched Delivery of Baby

Llulin Cruz, 31, was admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital to deliver her first child. The attending obstetrician was Dr. Michael Ihemaguba, who performed a midline episiotomy after he delivered the baby’s head. Dr. Ihemaguba then told Cruz to continue pushing. This resulted in a fourth-degree laceration, which Dr. Ihemaguba then repaired. The next day, Cruz complained of vaginal gas and Dr. Ihemaguba told her this would improve over time.

About 5 months later, Cruz became pregnant with her second child. She consulted midwife Gloria Murray for prenatal care and told her that she had fecal-smelling vaginal discharge. Murray called Dr. Ihemaguba and told him about Cruz’s symptoms. Dr. Ihemaguba instructed Murray to do nothing, but he told her to send Cruz to him after the baby was born.

After the vaginal delivery, which the midwife performed, Cruz was diagnosed as having a rectal-vaginal fistula. Cruz required 13 surgeries during the next 3 years, including an ileostomy and a “pulled down” procedure involving removal of her rectum. Cruz has lost control of her bowel function and is no longer able to engage in sexual relations. As she ages, her medical condition is expected to worsen, necessitating a permanent colostomy.

She sued Dr. Ihemaguba and St. Barnabas Hospital maintaining that the doctor (1) negligently performed the midline episiotomy after the delivery of the baby’s head; (2) failed to properly repair the fourth-degree laceration; (3) negligently told Cruz to push after the baby’s head was delivered; (4) chose not to instruct Cruz on how to care for her condition after the delivery; (5) negligently advised midwife Gloria Murray to instruct Cruz to wait to see Dr. Ihemaguba until after the birth of her second child; and (6) chose not to recommend a Cesarean section for her second delivery in view of the fistula.

The lawsuit also alleged that Murray, the midwife, had negligently performed a vaginal delivery and failed to provide adequate prenatal care in advance of that second delivery.

According to the report of this case, Cruz reached a settlement with Gloria Murray during trial for a total of $925,000. The jury, on the other hand, entered a verdict for $50 million, finding Dr. Ihemaguba and the hospital 90% liable and Murray, the midwife, 10% responsible.

The attorneys who so successfully handled this case were Edward J. Sanocki and Maria Morano. At trial, counsel for Cruz presented experts in obstetrics and colorectal surgery. The defendants presented an expert in obstetrics.

Cruz v. St. Barnabas Hosp., No. 308417/11 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Bronx County, April 13, 2016).

Kreisman Law Offices has been successfully handling birth trauma injury cases, birth injury cases, medical negligence cases, nursing home abuse and negligence cases and hospital negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Melrose Park, Maywood, Homewood, Highwood, Chicago (Washington Park, Jackson Park, Logan Square, Wicker Park, Rogers Park, Andersonville, Lincoln Square, Chinatown, Koreatown, Morgan Park, Lawndale, Kenwood, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards), Tinley Park, Elmhurst, Winnetka and Schiller Park, Ill.

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