This case was tried by Jerry Meyers & Paul Giuffre of Meyers Kenrick Giuffre & Evans, now Meyers Evans Lupetin & Unatin.
Originally Published February 18, 2006
By Sam J. Zema, Tyronepa.Com Staff Writer
A Blair County jury has awarded more than $4 million to a 10-year-old boy for health problems stemming from his birth at Tyrone Hospital in 1995.
The jury awarded $2.75 million for future medical expenses, and $600,000 was awarded for wages lost over the child’s lifetime. The jury also decided to award an additional $600,000 for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and humiliation and embarrassment and $52,000 for disfigurement.
Law clerk Jason Hess confirmed the jury’s award that came in a verdict on Wednesday. The civil trial covered eight court days and centered on the contention that a gynecologist, an anesthesiologist, Tyrone Hospital and its staff were negligent in the birth of Jacob Mayhue in December of 1995.
All the parties were found negligent, but the jury determined the actions of anesthesiologist Peter Matgouranis were not the cause of the boy’s medical problems.
It did decide that gynecologist Roy Pazmino and Tyrone Hospital were responsible. The jury divided that responsibility at 80 percent to Pazmino and 20 percent to the hospital’s obstetrical nursing staff. Pazmino did not work for the hospital when the boy was born.
Hess told The Daily Herald that the suit contended there was a delay in the ordering of the delivery of the baby by C-section after the boy’s heart stopped beating during an attempt at a regular delivery. Hess said the contention was that a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain led to cerebral palsy.
Giles Gaca, an attorney for the hospital, said the jury’s decision was “totally unexpected.”
He told The Daily Herald, “I don’t believe the hospital or the nursing staff did anything wrong.”
He said there was no settlement offer made “since the hospital is not responsible.”
Gaca added, “I cannot explain the verdict.”
He also said there is not enough insurance money to pay “half of the verdict.”
He called the jury’s decision an example of high runaway verdicts that have been handed down in negligence cases. He noted that ultimately it is the public that pays for such decisions.
Gaca said the hospital has 10 days to appeal the decision. He said he plans to a file a court motion within that time period but said he could not provide any details at this point.
“There has to be some relief granted,” said Gaca. “There’s not enough insurance, (so) where is the money going to come from?”
Paul Giuffre, an attorney for the boy’s parents, said he thought the jury did a good job going through a lot of evidence. He said they heard from eight expert witnesses in coming up with what he called “the right verdict.”
He said the boys parents, Melvin and Trudy Mayhue, were “appreciative” of the jury’s efforts.
“There’s a sense of relief for them,” said Giuffre. “They have had very little help other than what they were able to do on their own. This is the start of them being able to provide for Jacob what he needs.”
The Mayhues, formerly of Altoona, now reside in North Carolina.
Pazmino’s attorney, Christopher Rulis of Pittsburgh, did not return a call made to him regarding the civil case.
Related article: “Jury awards $4 million in civil case” by Phil Ray.