Bronx, New York, mother-of-two Llaulin Cruz has been awarded an incredible $50 million in damages after a jury ruled that a doctor wounded her while delivering Cruz's daughter. The wounds have caused lasting damage to her body, she claims, and prevent her from living a normal life.
Cruz tells Daily News that the botched labor performed by obstetrician Barnabas Ihemaguba in 2009 changed her life forever. When Cruz was delivering her first child, the doctor urged her to continue pushing after her newborn daughter's head was already delivered. He also performed a controlled cut called an episiotomy, which her suit claimed was unnecessary and caused a wound that has never been properly stitched.
The birth of her son a year later only made matters worse. Since then she has had over a dozen surgeries to try and repair the damage.
"I try not to be too far from my house," she said. "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." She was forced to end her career as a physical therapist because of her injuires.
Her injuries have impacted all facets of her life, including her love life. "We don't have any sexual relationship at all," she said of her marriage. "There's just too much pain."
The court found Ihemaguba 90 percent to blame for Cruz's injuries. He later told Daily News that the jury voted with their emotions. "Someone can just make up a story, cry to the jury, and they will ignore all the records and giver her a big reward," he said. He continued to explain that he made the cut because he determined that the umbilical chord was around the baby's neck. He also said that medical records show that Cruz never complained to him, or the nurses about any issues.
"If this woman really had a problem, wouldn't it be reflected on the records?" he asked. He added that he refused to settle the suit out of court because he did nothing wrong. "I was never worried about the money. It's the guilt or innocence."
After a month-long trial Cruz was awarded $40 million for future pain and suffering and $10 million for past suffering. Ihemaguba said that he is still licensed to practice medicine but hasn't in several years because he is recovering from his own medical issues.
(Photo from left: Michael Ihemaguba via Zocdoc, Llaulin Cruz via Facebook)
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