Lubell wins summary judgment for NY Ob/Gyn accused of wrongful birth of a sickle cell baby after doctor failed to do advanced panel genetic testing.

Lubell Rosen partner Steven Lubell, Esq., a medical malpractice defense lawyer, was granted summary judgment for his client, Dr. Guirlane Leonare Agnant, M.D., after successfully demonstrating that the plaintiff, Lakisha Garcia Hawkins, was never Dr. Agnant’s patient and had no claim against her.

Dr. Agnant, an obstetrician and gynecologist in New York, along with her partner Dr. Park, own the Women’s Medical Wellness of Westchester (WMWW), where Hawkins was treated in the first stages of her pregnancy. However, Dr. Agnant never had personal involvement in Hawkins’ care.

The Timeline

In January 2007, Hawkins, the plaintiff, suspected she was pregnant and went to WMWW for treatment. When she made the appointment, Hawkins requested a doctor who kept evening office hours, because she was unable to attend appointments during the day due to her work schedule. At her first appointment, Hawkins met with a fellow doctor at the practice, who would be treating her throughout her pregnancy.

During that first appointment, the doctor asked Hawkins about her family history, including any evidence of sickle cell. She also told Hawkins that she would be tested for sickle cell and have blood samples sent out to confirm the pregnancy. At a second appointment in February 2007, Hawkins had her first ultrasound. The doctor did not order any of the optional tests at that time, including the electrophoresis test, which is ordered if a patient is at risk for any diseases or has any family history of them. The doctor did order prenatal labs, which test for sickle cell.

After her son was born, Hawkins learned that he had Sickle Cell Beta Zero Thalassemia, which she claimed would make him vulnerable to frequent infections, and she would have to take time off work to care for him. Her lawsuit claimed that Dr. Agnant, along with a fellow doctor at the practice and WMWW were all negligent in failing to detect or order tests for sickle cell when she sought treatment.

Summary Judgment

Lubell filed a motion for summary judgment for Dr. Agnant, claiming that the lawsuit against her was not supported. Hawkins never saw, met nor received treatment from Dr. Agnant and had no interactions with her throughout her pregnancy. Dr. Agnant did not consult with the other doctor on any occasion when she treated Hawkins, and had no influence over ordering or failing to order sickle cell tests.

In her testimony, Hawkins was asked about her relationship with Dr. Agnant:

Q: “Do you remember the first time that you saw Dr. Agnant?”

A: “I never actually saw Dr. Agnant, I went to Dr. Agnant’s office.”

Q: “On any of the visits, did you ever see Dr. Agnant?”

A: “No.”

Lubell pointed to this testimony, as well as the timeline of Hawkins’ treatment, to demonstrate that it was a fellow doctor at the practice, not Dr. Agnant, who called the shots and determined which tests Hawkins received. It was that doctor who evaluated Hawkins’ history and the levels of risk for sickle cell and other diseases. Because Dr. Agnant had no hand in Hawkins’ doctor’s visits, and because in 2007, WMWW was not required to have a uniform protocol for issuing electrophoresis tests to pregnancy women, the judge agreed that the case against her should be dismissed.

At Lubell Rosen, our New York and Florida medical malpractice defense attorneys represent doctors who have been charged with negligence in a patient’s care. Contact an attorney at Lubell Rosen to discuss your case today. 

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Steven L. Lubell,  Esq.

 slubell@lubellrosen.com
 (954) 880-9500
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