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Brain-Damaged Boy Awarded $23 Million For Botched Birth

October 2, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ A jury awarded $23 million to an 8-year-old boy for the botched birth that left him severely brain-damaged, with cerebral palsy and unable to speak.

A jury determined Tuesday, after a monthlong trial, that Tristan Royal was the victim of negligent treatment his mother, Sherry, received when he was born prematurely at Booth Memorial Hospital in April 1988.

The hospital, now called The New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, said Wednesday that it would appeal because the jury obviously was ``overwhelmed by the devastating injury to the infant″ and based its verdict on emotion.

Thomas Moore, the family lawyer, said the medical staff had failed to diagnose a urinary tract infection the mother had suffered during pregnancy, resulting in premature labor that put the baby at risk.

The mother also was not examined by a doctor until eight hours after she was admitted. During those hours, she was seen only by a physician’s assistant with three weeks’ training in obstetrics, Moore said.

Another two hours passed before the delivery, and by then, the baby’s head had moved well into the mother’s pelvis, the lawyer said.

Moore said medical records were falsified to cover up for an inexperienced resident who performed the complicated Caesarean section delivery, severely damaging the child’s head by pushing and pulling at it.

Moore blamed the boy’s injuries on ``the battering he received at birth together with a loss of oxygen caused by the delay in the surgery, and the exposure to the mother’s infection.

Royal says the award will allow her to send Tristan to a private school and pay for more intense therapy for his cerebral palsy, which affects all his limbs.

``He’s very bright, very intelligent,″ his mother said, ``but he doesn’t speak.″

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