In over ten years of practicing law I have never felt so proud as I did the other day sitting in Bronx Supreme Court with this amazing little girl. Just a few moments after this photo was taken, the Chief Administrative Judge for the City of New York would go on to approve a record setting settlement that will provide a lifetime of care and support for this child’s devastating birth-related injuries.
Having a young child myself, and knowing what my wife had to go through carrying him to term, I can’t even begin to fathom the heartbreak that this child’s parents must have gone through when they found out their baby was deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery and that she had suffered permanent brain injuries that would disable her for life.
For her parents, whom I know since she was only a few months old, I can tell you first hand that they never thought about anything other than giving their child the best possible life. As Bengali immigrants they came to New York with little means and have raised their daughter and her older brother with unparalleled love and affection. For this beautiful, intelligent and giggly little girl she was extremely lucky to have parents like these.
What you don’t see in this photo is the years of struggle this family has gone through. From the first months of life all the way until five years of age it has been a constant struggle. When she was born, she was not breathing, her body was limp and she had no color or tone. The fetus had been through hours of prolonged fetal distress involving profound periods of hypoxia. This meant that the oxygen and nutrients typically supplied to the fetus were cut off long enough to cause permanent neurological injury to her brain.
During the first months of her life this little girl’s parents were extraordinary, literally willing their tiny, frail child to live. This was all despite every pediatric specialist you could imagine telling the family to temper their expectations for her life. Being born unresponsive, not breathing, brain damaged and broken, this infant child had only a glimmer of hope. Not only did she have profound neurological injuries and suffer from cerebral palsy and seizures, but she also could not eat or put on weight.
Her parents took her to every possible doctor, made every possible appointment, got her therapies and treatments, fed her through tooth and nail and somehow got her to start putting on weight and even enjoying eating. The miracles these people performed through love and devotion is an inspiration that I will hold dear and remember for my entire life. They are a testament to the belief that when bad things happen in our journey through life we always have the chance to persevere no matter what.
When you look at this five-year-old kid you can see when you look in her eyes that if her birth had been different she would have been entirely normal, doing normal things right now like running around a playground or raising her hand in class instead of sitting in a big scary courtroom with me. She would be in kindergarten playing with her friends at this very moment these photos were taken. But she is not and no magic wand can ever make that a reality.
That is where we come in. Because of the way the world works we have no special powers to give a person like this a normal life. The only way we can tip the scales of justice back in the favor of a helpless child like this is through unbelievable teamwork through a variety of professionals both in our office and outside. These are the people behind the scenes that help support the disabilities this child will face with real life solutions and financial planning.
It has been a true honor representing this little girl and her family. In our practice of law we have the opportunity to make things right, and to even the playing field for those less fortunate in order to obtain true justice on their behalf.
However, for us at James Newman, P.C. this little girl with her beautiful smile and laugh will always have a very special place in our hearts.