Sciascia v. Pepe
Genuine issues of material fact in a medical-malpractice suit may preclude summary judgment. The plaintiff, Jennifer Sciascia, alleged that on Dec. 6, 2007 the defendant doctor, Vincent Pepe, failed to admit the plaintiff to the MidState Medical Center and to permit her to deliver her child, when Sciascia was in labor. Allegedly, Sciascia was administered terbutaline, which stopped the labor. On December 10, Sciascia's child was delivered stillborn, allegedly as a result of a knot in the umbilical cord that prevented the flow of blood and oxygen to the fetus. The defendants moved for summary judgment. The defendants disclosed Dr. Janice Harnett as an expert witness and the plaintiff disclosed Dr. Joseph Finkelstein, who opined that Sciascia's pregnancy had reached full term on December 6 and that a delivery on that date would have resulted in a healthy infant. Causation in a negligence action constitutes a question for the factfinder, pursuant to Burton v. City of Stamford, a 2009 decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. "The experts disagree," wrote the Superior Court, "on the issues of whether on December 6, 2007 . . . Ms. Sciascia was in labor, whether she was full term, whether delivery was appropriate at that time and whether she should have been given the terbutaline to interrupt or delay the onset of labor." There were genuine issues of material fact with respect to whether the defendant doctor was negligent and whether his negligence constituted a proximate cause of the plaintiff's harm. The court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment.