The Northern Westchester Hospital emergency room doctor who was present with Douglas Kennedy when he tried to bring his newborn son outside of the building felt, at the time, that doing so was “fine.”
“I thought it would be great,” said Dr. Timothy Haydock, who testified Thursday in Mount Kisco Justice Court for the fourth day of Kennedy's trial. Kennedy is charged with child endangerment and harassment over his attempt to move his infant son Bo out of the maternity ward on Jan. 7 for fresh air.
Haydock, who said he became friends with the Kennedy family in the late 1960s when he was a tennis instructor in Hyannis Port, MA, testified that he knew Douglas Kennedy since he was three months old.
“We're very close, we're very good friends,” he said, adding that he knew Kennedy's wife, Molly, since they were dating in the 1980s.
The doctor, who worked part-time at NWH but full time at White Plains Hospital, testified that he arrived that night for his emergency room shift for around 7 p.m. With a cleared plate for work in ER, Haydock decided to go to the maternity ward on the third floor to see the Kennedys' and their son Bo, who was born on Jan. 5. When Haydock, arriving, he described having “small talk” such as how they were doing.
Haydock testified that when he said he was going to head back to the ER, Douglas Kennedy suggested taking the baby outside to get fresh air and to look at the moon.
“I said that's fine and we went out to the nursing station,” Haydock said. For the occasion, he also described Bo as “pretty warmly dressed.”
Haydock's testimony protrayed Kennedy as largely calm, along with that of the station nurses. He also testified that Kennedy received station help in removing Bo's bracelet, and that a response from the station about needing a basinet for transporting the baby, which Kennedy retrieved but did not use, made him believe they were then going to go out.
It was suggested that the intervention of the nurses who alleged Kennedy made aggressive physical contact with him, Anna Lane and Cari Luciano, changed the situation for the worse. The doctor, on cross examination from the defense, explained that tension in the dialogue came when a nurse – it was Anna Lane, based on other testimony, but she was not named by him – came up to Kennedy and indicated there was “no way” he was going to take the baby outside. Haydock added that she then threatened to call a Code Pink alert, which covers infant abduction.
Haydock said he knew “this is clearly not an abduction,” of the infant. He also added that it was “non consistent” with what Code Pink is for. A Code Pink, along with a Code Purple alert that's used for agitated people, was eventually called at Lane's request.
The demeanor of Kennedy and Lane got more contentious, he explained, describing Lane's tone as “aggressive and strident and loud.” Kennedy, he added, was “a little upset with the change” in tone, but added that his was “still relatively normal” at that point.
Haydock added that he thought what the nurse was doing was “Orwellian” and was unnecessary control over the behavior of the father with his son.
Haydock also vouched for Kennedy's defensive counsel's argument that he was calm after the initial confrontation, when he headed to an elevator and when he headed to a stairwell after he was stopped from leaving by a nurse, referencing Lane's attempt. The doctor also testified that Kennedy identified him as a physician.
He also did not corroborate testimony from Lane about Kennedy twisting left her arm to get her hand off of the stairwell door so he could use it, describing only how Kennedy pushed his way backwards through the door, and that he did not see a struggle between them. Haydock at the time was approaching the doorway from the nearby hall.
After that point, when the door opened, Haydock testified that Luciano “lunged” for the baby, an action that he described as sudden and one that he did not expect. Next, Haydock testified that Kennedy raised one of his legs, had a bent knee, placed his foot on her lower abdomen and then pushed her through the doorway, an act that he described as quickly. The description comes in contrast to Luciano's testimony, who described Kennedy as kicking her with his foot, causing her to fly across the doorway.
Haydock also contradicted Luciano's past account of the baby's head “violently shaking” around the time Kennedy opened the doo, which she testified was her reason for trying to get the baby. He also did not hear Luciano cry out from the fall.
“I heard nothing,” he said. Haydock added that he looked at her than headed for the stairwell, where he checked on Kennedy and his baby. He described Bo as being okay when he checked on him.
“The baby seemed absolutely fine,” he said, adding that he saw no trauma evidence.
The prosecution, by contrast, portrayed Haydock as someone who lacks the professional experience to make proper judgment of what Kennedy should have done with the baby.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Borrelli repeatedly raised the difference in medical expertise between Haydock, an ER doctor, and the nurses who specialize in maternity care. He noted that Haydock was not Bo's physician and that he did not see his patient chart for that night. Additionally, Borrelli argued that a request for Haydock to see a supervising nurse to get her opinion on the fresh air request when he and Kennedy were still at the station, contradicted his belief that it seemed okay to move the baby after being told to have a bassinet.
At one point, Borrelli asked questions that appeared to have an implicit goal of looking at whether Haydock received any corrective response from NWH for his conduct. These included he discussion he had about infant policy and raising the point that Haydock did not work at NWH again between January and May. Haydock did not admit to any sort of disciplinary action being brought, however.
Meanwhile, earlier in the trial date, Kennedy's defense counsel made a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing that the prosecution's witness testimonies do not prove that Kennedy knowing put his son in a situation where he would likely be injured, which was described as the burden of proof for child endangerment. On the harassment charge, counsel argued that Kennedy's physical contact with Luciano was done on instinct and happened quickly, rather than being intentional as the burden of proof requires.
The prosecution countered that Kennedy's action with the baby, such as where he landed near the stairs, constituted action likely to harm the baby, and that Kennedy kicking Luciano was a deliberate method of stopping her. Mount Kisco Village Justice John Donohue decided to reserve on the motion.
The trial date concluded around 5 p.m., and Haydock is expected to continue his testimony on Friday at 9:30 a.m. It appears, based on talk between both sides' counsel and the judge, that the defense could rest its case on the same day.