St. Agnes to pay $2.1 million to settle negligence claim

July 01, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

St. Agnes HealthCare has agreed to pay $2.1 million to a Manchester couple whose daughter has cerebral palsy and cannot talk, allegedly because of negligent care when she was born at the hospital in 1977.

William and Kathleen Hartig will receive a lump sum payment of $1.3 million and periodic payments to help care for their 21-year-old daughter Sarah, as the result of a settlement agreement filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Officials at St. Agnes, in the 900 block of Caton Ave. in Southwest Baltimore, declined to comment yesterday.

Mr. Hartig, who works as a technician for Bell Atlantic, and his wife filed suit against St. Agnes on Sarah's behalf a year ago.

The Hartigs alleged that Sarah's condition resulted from her being deprived of sufficient oxygen in the hours before she was delivered March 10, 1977. They claimed that a Caesarean-section delivery would have prevented the cerebral palsy, an impairment of muscular power and coordination due to brain damage.

Dr. Manuel B. DeSagun was the staff physician who delivered Sarah.

The suit says that Sarah's fetal heart rate should have been monitored more closely because it would have shown that the baby was in fetal distress and in need of a Caesarean section.

dTC The baby suffered from oxygen deprivation for four to five hours before she was delivered vaginally at 9: 45 p.m., according to the suit.

In court papers, the hospital disputed the Hartigs' claims, saying, "Sarah's delivery was not mismanaged."

The Hartigs say in court papers that they have since conceived two other healthy children, but that Sarah has had to undergo several surgical procedures because of the deterioration of her spine.

"She is wheelchair bound, cannot walk, talk or ambulate other than with the assistance of an electronic wheelchair," according to the settlement agreement filed by both sides.

DeSagun, who has since moved to West Covina, Calif., did not return phone calls yesterday.

Pub Date: 7/01/98

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