Liaulin Cruz, 38, gave birth to her daughter in 2009 and was cared for by obstetrician Michael Ihemaguba at St. Barnabas Hospital. Her baby, now 6, is doing well, but Cruz's life has changed dramatically since she suffered lacerations during the delivery. Now, she can never be too far from a bathroom and has to wear underwear liner every day and all day long.
Recently, after a month-long trial, a jury awarded the Bronx mom $40 million for future pain and suffering, and $10 million for past suffering. They found that Ihemaguba wounded her while delivering her daughter.
Cruz said, "I try not to be too far from my house. I have to wear panty liner all the time, because accidents can happen. I don't have control over it. That's how it is right now.”
The jury also found that during her delivery, the doctor prompted her to keep pushing even after the newborn's head was already delivered. He then performed a controlled cut called an episiotomy, which Cruz's suit says was unnecessary and caused a massive wound that was never properly stitched up. What's worse is Cruz didn't know of her condition until she became pregnant with her son the next year.
Already suffering from strange discharges, the Dominican Republic-born mom chose to go to a midwife, Gloria Murray. Murray did not know of Cruz's massive tissue tears and delivered her son vaginally--this only made her current condition worse.
For the next few years, Cruz was in and out of the hospital for over a dozen corrective surgeries. Due to her condition, she had to leave her job as a physical therapist in Castle Hill. Today, Cruz still has an occasional accident and feels consistent discomfort.
She talked of her husband, "We don't have any sexual relationship at all. There's just too much pain." Her lawyers, Ed Sanocki and Maria Morano of the firm Sanocki Newman & Turret, called the mom-of-two’s ordeal “horrible.” The jury found Ihemaguba 90 percent responsible and Murray to be 10 percent responsible.
Ihemaguba said, "Someone can just make up a story, cry to the jury, and they will ignore all the records and give her a big award." Ihemaguba claims he had to make the cut because he determined the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck, and the baby needed space. He stated, "If this woman really had a problem, wouldn't it be reflected on the records?"
Ihemaguba added, “I was never worried about the money. It's the guilt or innocence." St. Barnabas Hospital is also liable for a portion of the verdict. The hospital says Ihemaguba was not an employee at the hospital, although he delivered babies there. Spokesman Steve Clark said the hospital “is hopeful that this amount will be reduced or set aside by appeal.”
Photo: NY Daily News
Doctor sued for millions after he destroys woman's life.