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Thomas Moore: Disabled Brooklyn boy awarded $25 million in untreated jaundice case against New York Methodist Hospital

Doctors and nurses failed to treat the disease. Boy's brain was severely damaged and he can't speak or walk.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2013, 2:11 PM

A Brooklyn newborn who was discharged from New York Methodist Hospital despite a severe case of jaundice that would damage his brain and render him permanently handicapped, has won $26 million from a jury.

Jaelin Sence, now 6, was released by the medical center and Dr. Ioanis Atoynatan without a proper exam or follow up — even though his mother was complaining of the boy’s yellowing skin, jurors found.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen a more preventable case,” said Thomas Moore, who represented Sence, who can’t use his arms and legs, and, even six years after his birth, has still not said the words “mama” or “dada” to his mom Myrtho and father Jean.

“It’s heartbreaking to see a child like this,” Moore said.

According to the family, Sence was ushered out of Methodist Hospital in 2007 less than 48 hours after he was born, despite rapidly yellowing eyes.

Jaundice is common in newborns, but it still must be treated. Instead, nurses disregarded Myrtho Sence’s concerns and told her the illness would go away, the family said.

Jaelin grew steadily worse until he began vomiting, and his parents rushed him to Kings County Hospital, where was diagnosed with hyperbilirubinemia — a severe jaundice that causes brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Doctors performed two blood transfusions, but it was too late to keep the jaundice from doing its worst.

“They couldn’t save my son’s brain, but they saved his life,” Myrtho Sence said.

Methodist Hospital, in Park Slope, denied that it did anything wrong and vowed to appeal the jury award.

“New York Methodist Hospital deeply sympathizes with the plaintiff and his family but denies any wrongdoing that would have contributed to the outcome he experienced,” the hospital said in a statement.

Atoynatan’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

If it stands, the jury’s award will allow the family to continue to provide 24-hour-a-day care for the boy as Myrtho Sence works as a home health aide and her husband drives a cab.

But she’d gladly trade the money for a healthy son.

“He cannot sit by himself. He cannot walk,” she said. “It’s very, very, very hard.” - Read more:

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SAM COSTANZA - This is Jaelin Sence 6, and his mother Myrtho, 47. The boy cant speak and needs 24-hour care as a result of malpractice by New York Methodist Hospital, a jury decided last week.
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