by Dan Pearson
February 17, 2001
A Groton boy paralyzed while being delivered at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital has been awarded more than $2 million in the largest medical malpractice award of its kind in state history.
Nearly 10 years after Samuel Gomez' right arm was paralyzed from his shoulder to his fingers, a Norwich Superior Court jury Friday unanimously awarded Gomez and his parent, Anthony and Luevennia Gomez of Groton, $2,065,049.
The jury decided that Gomez' condition was brought about by injuries he received while being delivered by Dr. Stanley P. Solinsky at L&M. The award is the largest stemming from an obstetric complication known as shoulder dystocia in Connecticut. Judge Joseph Koletsky presided over the trial, which began Jan. 30.
According to attorney Jim Horwitz of Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder, the Bridgeport law firm that represented the Gomez family, Samuel Gomez' paralysis occurred during his delivery on July 19, 1991. During the birth, according to Horwitz, Gomez' shoulders became stuck. In court papers filed by attorneys last February, the Gomez family alleged that Solinsky and his staff failed to plan for shoulder dystocia and applied excessive "pressure, traction and torsion" during delivery.
On Friday, the jury decided that Solinsky used "inappropriate maneuvers" to deliver the baby, damaging the nerves in the baby's neck and preventing permanent use of the shoulder, arm and hands on Gomez' right side, a condition known as Brachial Palsy, or Erb's and Klumpke's palsy.
"The permanent nerve injury came from injury to the entire bundle of spinal nerves," Horwitz said.
Solinsky, a member of Shoreline Obstetrics and Gynecology in New London, was represented by Thomas Boyce of Faulkner and Boyce of New London. Neither could be reached for comment Friday. Horwitz was assisted by Regina M. DeLuca, also of Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder.
Horwitz said the $2 million figure was calculated as a combination of the Gomez family's medical bills and Samuel Gomez' eventual lost earnings and "loss of enjoyment of life." In addition to his palsy, Gomez has severe motor and sensory impairment, has had to undergo extensive surgery, and has endured disfigurement, rehabilitation, and social, psychological, physiological, and neurological damage, Horwitz said.
Anthony Gomez is employed as a welder in Massachusetts. Luevennia Gomez is employed at Electric Boat. Both parents were in court for Friday's verdict.
Kelly Anthony, a spokesman for L&M, which was not named in the lawsuit, said Friday that Solinksy remains "at the present time in good standing with both the medical staff and the hospital."