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Brain-Damaged Teen Awarded $31.1M

Mar 16, 2004 | NEWSDAY

A 17-year-old girl born with permanent brain damage has been awarded $31.1 million by a jury that found two physicians and a Brooklyn hospital liable for her condition.

The Brooklyn jury, in a verdict returned Thursday, found that Dr. Paul Ennin, Dr. Paul Owusu Baah and Interfaith Medical Center were negligent in attending to the birth of Drita Manuka, who was delivered by emergency Cesarean section on Feb. 5, 1987.

An attorney who represented the family in the medical-malpractice lawsuit, charged that the doctors and the hospital wrongly treated the girl's mother Suzana Umerovska of Flatbush for a bladder infection before correctly diagnosing that the baby's umbilical cord was cutting off her oxygen supply.

"This extreme obstetrical emergency caused the infant's oxygen supply to be choked off for a prolonged period," the family's attorney said. As a result, he said, Drita Manuka was born with permanent brain damage, including severe cerebral palsy and other mental deficits that require daily medical and custodial care.

"Doctors and the hospital had several opportunities over a 24-hour period to rescue the infant from the mother's womb, but they failed repeatedly to correctly diagnose the mother's condition," the attorney said.

The mother and her husband, Ferik Manuka, a roofer, were not available for comment.

The verdict was returned in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn after a four-week trial before Justice Gerald Rosenberg.


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