Daughter brain damaged after procedure, family sues

May 3, 2013 2:26:21 PM PDT
A family's teenage daughter went into the hospital for a routine procedure but ended up suffering severe brain damage and is now unable to communicate. They filed a lawsuit against the hospital on Friday.

"The last thing she said to me was, 'You mean you're not going Mommy?' And I just think if I was there I would have made her better," said Iris Ferraro, Raina's mother.

Raina Ferraro had the natural and constant joy of a cheerleader, the endless energy of a teenager, and a future as shimmering as her smile.

But Raina Ferraro now is 19-years-old, severely brain damaged, and trapped in what will be a lifetime of darkness and silence for as long as she lives.

"I want my baby back," Iris Ferraro said.

Ferraro's father brought her to Phelps Memorial Hospital in Sleepy Hollow on January 10th.

Raina had a minor but persistent stomach ailment and doctors performed an endoscopy to see what was wrong, basically a tiny camera inserted down the throat. It's a routine procedure, but Raina's blood pressure started to drop.

"It was not responded to in a timely way. Her heart rate, her blood pressure, cause a brain injury because of lack of oxygen to the brain that could have been prevented," said Ira Newman, attorney.

The hospital spokesperson could not talk about the case because of confidentiality considerations. When Eyewitness News asked if they could say if the doctors did anything wrong, the spokesperson said she couldn't say anything.

The family's lawyers believe the doctors' failure to act quickly caused Raina's brain damage, her blindness and near deafness. She has new doctors now.

"She's stuck, I can't imagine how she's going to get better but we have to keep trying and not give up and hope God is good to her," Iris Ferraro said.

It will cost millions of dollars to care for Raina over the course of her life. The family is suing Phelps Memorial Hospital to get back some of that.

What they really want of course, is to have back the daughter that walked into the hospital with a minor stomach ailment. Doctors tell them that will never happen.