The plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Saipan Health Clinic are demanding a jury trial in their civil suit alleging medical malpractice.
The plaintiffs—the biological parents and grandparent of a now 2-year old who experienced Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy or HIE, birth trauma and other injuries as a result of the alleged malpractice—have recently filed their third amended complaint and a motion demanding that the Superior Court set a jury trial on the matter.
According to the third amended complaint, the plaintiffs are alleging medical malpractice and violations of equal protection for the infant. They named CHCC, SHC, and physician Helen Taro-Atalig as defendants. Taro-Atalig is an employee of the Health Professional Corp. that does business as Saipan Health Clinic, a private medical clinic.
The plaintiffs are asking for an award of damages and future damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and diminished quality of life.
According to the lawsuit, on May 7, 2020, plaintiffs gave birth to their first child at CHCC. The child allegedly suffered from HIE, a type of brain dysfunction that occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen or blood flow for a period of time, as a result of the birthing process.
The plaintiffs allege that Taro-Atalig was the primary care provider of obstetrical care for the pregnancy and delivery of plaintiffs’ child but CHCC employees assisted in the delivery of the child.
The plaintiffs noted that Taro-Atalig, being the primary care provider, controlled all material aspects of the delivery.
Meanwhile, CHCC has also filed a motion with the Superior Court requesting that they be dismissed from this lawsuit with prejudice.
CHCC, through assistant attorney general Stephen Anson, argues that dismissal of plaintiffs’ first cause of action for medical malpractice against CHCC is warranted because, as a matter of law, CHCC cannot be held vicariously liable for the actions of a private physician.
Anson also argued that the plaintiffs fail to state a direct medical malpractice claim against CHCC because Taro-Atalig was the primary care provider responsible for the medical decisions concerning the plaintiffs’ delivery of their child.
Further. Anson argues that the plaintiffs retained Taro-Atalig from SHC for medical services concerning the birth of their first child. “Even though Taro-Atalig is not an employee of CHCC, she has physician privileges at CHCC,” Anson said.