Syracuse Jury Awards $1,700,000 for Nerve Damage

By Jim O'Hara / The Post-Standard
June 01, 2010

Syracuse, NY - A home-care nurse was awarded nearly $1.7 million in damages by a Syracuse jury Friday to compensate her for permanent nerve damage caused when she was given an injection following the delivery of her baby three years ago.

A state Supreme Court jury of four women and two men awarded Tina Holstein $140,000 for past pain and suffering plus $1,550,000 for future pain and suffering, lawyer Jeff DeFrancisco said today.

The verdict against Community General Hospital came late Friday afternoon following a five-day trial before Justice James Murphy.

According to DeFrancisco, Holstein was in the hospital in October 2007 for the delivery of her third child. There were problems with the delivery and Holstein ended up being given an intramuscular injection several hours later in the recovery room to try to stop her vomiting, the lawyer said.

DeFrancisco said a nurse improperly administered the injection too low, damaging Holstein's sciatic nerve. Holstein, 34, now has lower back problems, difficulty sitting and standing for any length of time and limitations on her physical activities as a result of the nerve damage, the lawyer said.

DeFrancisco said Holstein has continued to work as a licensed practical nurse in home care, but her doctor believes her condition will worsen.

According to DeFrancisco, the Department of Health investigated the birth of Holstein's child and found problems with her treatment and the documentation of that treatment during the delivery. Those issues, however, were not part of the lawsuit, he said.

The Department of Health did not investigate the post-delivery injection which was the basis for the lawsuit, he said.

The hospital's lawyer, Wiley Dancks, said today her office was reviewing the case and the verdict for a possible appeal.

"Despite the jury's hard work on this case, we respectfully disagree with the verdict," she said. "We stand by the care rendered by the hospital and its staff."

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