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Power Rogers & Smith Attorneys Joseph W. Balesteri and Kathryn L. Conway Secure $16 Million Settlement in Birth Injury Case

Power Rogers & Smith Partner Joseph W. Balesteri and Associate Kathryn L. Conway recently secured a $16 million settlement for the family of newborn child who suffered a stroke at birth in 2008.

Evanthia Georgas gave birth to her son Nickolas in June of 2008. After two hours of labor, Evanthia’s doctor, Lauren Thorpe, MD, chose to use a vacuum extractor to help the process along, according to the lawsuit. Balesteri argued that the choice to use device vacuum when there was no immediate risk to the health of either Evanthia or Nickolas was improper. In addition, Dr. Thorpe misapplied the vacuum to the wrong part of Nickolas’ head when he was too high in the birth canal.

“Vacuum and/or forceps use can have permanent effects on the fetal brain when used improperly and without indication,” Balesteri said.

The doctors’ attempts to remove Nickolas with the vacuum extractor failed, and he was delivered two hours later by C-section. When he was born, doctors noted that he had bruising just above his right ear, and a CT scan revealed hemorrhage on that side of his head between the scalp and skull, according to the lawsuit. The improper vacuum use created traction, twisting and/or elongation of the right middle cerebral artery, resulting in obstruction of blood flow, causing the stroke and consequent brain damage, according to Balesteri.

Nickolas is now a 10-year-old boy, and suffers from seizures, cerebral palsy, and left-sided paralysis. He needs to wear a helmet to protect him when he falls, and he still struggles with regular outbursts and tantrums, according to Balesteri.

“This case highlights the effects of improper use of medical equipment,” Balesteri said. “Nick is a fun and challenging 10-year-old. His parents will forever wonder what could have been since he is only able to use half of his brain through no fault of his own.”

This settlement will provide the Georgas family with the financial resources it needs to ensure that their son receives the quality care he needs throughout his life.

“We’re happy to provide for an opportunity for later in his life to have care around the clock, which he has been receiving from his parents,” Balesteri said. “When they are no longer alive, there will now be someone to take care of their son.”

Probate Judge Carolyn Quinn gave the final approval for the settlement on Monday, October 29, previously approved by Law Division Judge Allen P. Walker on Tuesday, October 16.

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