Kennedy Lawyer Assails Nurses Jobs, Hospital Policies [UPDATE]

In his cross examination of nurses Anna Lane and Cari Luciano, attorney looks for flaws, hits at credibility.

Douglas Kennedy's attorney aggressively looked for whatever flaws he could find when he questioned Northern Westchester Hospital nurses Anna Lane and Cari Luciano during the second day of Kennedy's trial for child endangerment and harassment charges. Specifically, they included the integrity of the hospital's policies and Lane's job performance during the incident.

Lawyer Robert Gottlieb, during his Tuesday morning questioning in Mount Kisco Justice Court, repeatedly brought up what he saw as lapses in Lane's and Luciano's performances as nurses, and probed for any gaps between what NWH nurses told Mount Kisco police following the alleged Jan. 7 scuffle over Kennedy's newborn son, Bo, and more recent descriptions.

Lane testified for much of the trial day - she continued from her start on Monday - with Luciano beginning her testimony towards the end of the businesses day. Another witness, fellow nurse Marion Williams, was also called.

In his cross examination of Lane, Gottlieb questioned whether she checked up on Bo after Kennedy fell backwards after allegedly kicking fellow nurses Cari Luciano after he left through a stairwell exit on the maternity ward floor. As an example, he got her to acknowledge that she checked on Luciano while Kennedy headed for the stairs, where he was met by hospital security.

"You're not looking at the baby, are you?" Gottlieb asked?

"At this point, no," Lane replied. The nurse, when she first took the stand on Monday, described infant safety as important to her.

The prosecution, by contrast, painted the nurses as folks who care about their the baby's safety.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto asked Lane whether she checked on the baby's condition after Kennedy fell during his alleged kick of Luciano. Lane replied that she did by looking. Lane also admitted that she checked after the incident to see if the baby was okay and following up with a neo-natal care head for an update. She also stated that she asked for the baby to be examined.

Gottlieb also took issue with what he saw as inconsistent statements between Lane's discussion with police and later on. Examples he brought up included specifics on how Kennedy held Bo, not mentioning a brief conversation she had with fellow nurse Angela Adamo and that she did not disclose having post-traumatic stress. Gottlieb also asked Lane whether she received any bruises from Kennedy allegedly twisting her left arm to remove to hand from the stairwell door knob, and to which she replied that she did not.

The defense lawyer also focused on the minutiae altercation timeline when questioning witnesses, demanding answers on how many seconds some of the incidents occurred. Examples included Kennedy's fall after allegedly kicking Luciano.

At multiple points, Gottlieb raised his voice loudly to make his points, and quickly made a demonstration for how fast seconds would pass during examples he brought up. In one instance, he quickly looked at his watch and counted to five.

"Does that shock you?" he replied to Lane

Gottlieb spent considerable time going after Luciano's credibility, citing a guilty plea to a 2002 incident of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), asking whether she had any responsibility for security camera footage being leaked (unauthorized) to the media, and getting her to admit that she checked medical history of the patient. He also stated that NWH did an internal investigation over whether private material, such as the video was leaked.

When asked by Patch about whether Luciano was disciplined in connection with the investigation, Gottlieb replied that he did not know what happened, although he stated that she was found in violation by the hospital for having accessed the patient's medical information.

Luciano declined to take questions form reporters when she exited the Mount Kisco courthouse.

Gottlieb also made aggressive attacks on the infant removal policy of NWH and Lane's performance in the context of it. He got her to answer that the mother, whom she referred to as "the primary caregiver," is the one who can consent to removing a baby against medical advice, rather than the father. Additionally, Gottlieb also asked Lane whether she checked with Kennedy's wife Molly about his request to take Bo outside for refresh air. Lane replied that she did not.

Prior to Kennedy's interaction with Luciano, witnesses who saw the dispute at the stairwell door, after it opened, described Bo's head as bobbing.

“The head was bouncing around,” Lane said.

“it looked like the baby was unsteady,” Luciano said, adding it looked like the baby was not being securely held.

Tearfully recalling her interaction with Kennedy, Luciano said she reached to grab Bo, to protect and steady him, describing her action as “instinctive.”

Luciano then described Kennedy kicking her with his foot, which Lane and Williams also claimed in their testimony, and said she “just went flying back.” Luciano then testified that she went to the emergency room for treatment.

“I was in shock,” Williams said about Luciano being kicked.

Lane testified that Kennedy, earlier in their conversation, he did not wish to discharge Bo, and that there was no reason to discuss hospital policy then. Assuming there was, in response to a Puerto question, there would be a talk with the “whole family,” and with a physician and supervisor.

Puerto also attempted to steer the focus away from the letter of NWH policies and to their intent. She noted that Lane, who has been with the hospital since 2002, served on an internal steering committee for policy, and asked about the intent of the Code Pink status – which deals with abduction of infants from the maternity ward – which Lane requested. Gottlieb, in his examination, responded that the hospital's various policies discussed predate Lane's arrival at NWH, thus removing her from original intent of them.

“The intent of the code pink policy is to keep infants safe and to keep them on the unit,” she said.

Puerto also asked whether the policy was considered with scenarios beyond a stranger taking the infant, to which Lane agreed. She also admitted that a Code Purple status called for Kennedy – it is directed towards people believe to be aggressive and violent – can be applied more broadly, which Lane also agreed with.

Gottlieb asked whether a baby's father is an unauthorized person in terms of removing a baby patient. Lane responded that a father would be considered unauthorized prior to discharge.

Williams described Kennedy's request to remove Bo, so that he could take him outside for fresh air at night, as an unusual request.

“We had never dealt with that before,” she said.

Kennedy's attorney also sought to emphasize that breaking hospital policy and breaking the law are not one in the same, asking whether people have been arrested in the past in connection with doing so. Puerto, before ending her examination, asked whether there have been arrests over cases such as Lane's arm being alleged twisted or the alleged kick of Luciano, to which Lane replied no.

“Nothing further” Puerto quickly replied.

The trial was adjourned around 5 p.m. while Gottlieb was still questioning Luciano. It will resume tomorrow at 1 p.m. and it appears that Luciano will continue to testify.

Tom Murphy October 23, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I agree with you 100% Vincent. When you are i pain in a hospital you want to see a nurse not a doctor. As for Kennedy, what kind of nitwit A) kicks a nurse and B) does that with an infant in his arms. Guess Douglas doesn't hear the word NO a lot. Good for the nurses for standing their ground.
eatingdogfood October 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Nurses deserve the utmost respect. They help us into the world and they hold us as we leave and everything in between. Anyone who has ever been a patient knows nurses are angels.
VinnyfromCongers October 24, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Kennedy's don't get convicted.
joshua tanner October 24, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Karma gets'em
JP October 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM
So true: Kennedy's always win their case in court. No one is ever convicted. Started with Ted getting away with murder at Chappaquidick and has gone through various narcotics arrests to this guy abusing his wife until she commits suicide and now this arrogant guy who just can't help but abuse nurses in a hospital. Whole family stinks.
Collegenurse October 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I am behind the nurses 100% (I guess my name speaks volumes). I am also not surprised at the hospitals response I started my career there and worked there for years, it is a paternalist hospital where some nurses still get up an give a doctor their seat...Don't kid yourself there is alot of "good old boy" stuff going on regarding this incident. The nurses did there their job...and did not make allowances for "special" or "famous" people...had this been joe smo we would never had heard about it.
aph47 October 24, 2012 at 09:33 PM
I'm not going to try to defend Kennedy attacking the nurses, that was certainly overboard, but I can certainly understand his frustration. He was the father of that baby, married to the mother and as such has equal custody to the baby as mom does. He had every legal right to remove the baby from the hospital. The hospital isn't disputing that they knew he was the dad (and therefore a legal custodian) they just stopped him because they have a policy against fathers taking the baby outside. That's simply not consistent with custody law for married parents.
Dan Rizzi October 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Get a grip!!!! In today's world with all the news reports about abductions and children being taken. The fact that we now have bracelets on both mother and baby to identify their connection.(p.s......don't see the dads being given a bracelet). How in the name of what is absolute..... COMMON SENSE, could you justify a father removing his 1 day old newborn, on a January day(hello......winter) to get them fresh air?????????. Wait till the discharge day! They only stay 1-3 days! Bo can get plenty of fresh air then! That father should have respectfully THANKED those nurses for being as cautious as they were and respect the fact that NURSES are patient ADVOCATES...Bo and Mrs. Kennedy were the patients and it would have taken a short conversation for this to be straightened out.....! Way to go NWH!
VinnyfromCongers October 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Amen brother. NO ONE takes a newborn outside until they are ready to go home.
aph47 October 24, 2012 at 11:52 PM
@Dan - First, I said that dad had a legal right to custody of the baby. As such, as a matter of law, the hospital can't stop him from exercising his parental rights. Second, Are you suggesting that bringing a baby outside once it's been discharged by the hospital is dangerous? Parents walk with their newborn babies to calm them down all the time. Or do you mean that the baby is suddenly more able to go outside, medically, once the hospital checks off its bureaucratic forms? And look up newborn abductions on google - nearly all the alleged perpetrators are WOMEN. Bottom line - the father's rights (the rights of any legal parent) outweigh the hospital rules. This case is more stupid because the nurses knew he was the (legal) father and belligerently refused to let him go outside WITH A DOCTOR AT HIS SIDE. Come on. These charges are ridiculous - I don't think that lashing out physically was the best choice, but the video is unclear. If he felt that someone was trying to take that baby, if he felt that he was trapped, then there's no way he had the requisite legal intent to be convicted of the harassment charge.
Dan Rizzi October 25, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Back @ you aph47....... And please......not to make an argument about this but...... First......I don't think those nurses were ever questioning the legal right of custody for the baby. We can leave LEGAL for our Court System. Second, I can guarantee you, that when a baby is discharged from the hospital(which we know, Bo wasn't discharged yet) the nurses will make sure that the newborn is placed into the appropriate carrying device (carseat) at discharge, so as to ensure the newborns safety when leaving the hospital. Not carried in one arm onto an elevator and when detoured, attempt to walk down the STAIRS to make an obviously ignorant, irresponsible and blatantly neglectful move......What and how parents decide to care for and console their babies in their home environment is their choice but while in the hospital, YES ......policies and rules do apply to ALL regardless of their heritage. And had this been any other parent the book would have been thrown at them on Day 1. As far as looking up abductions on Google goes.......I truly don't care about the fact that NEARLY all abductors are women.....It only takes 1 man/woman/father/mother or lunatic to abduct a child. Thank GOD or whoever else you want to thank for hospital policy, bureaucracy, and those WONDERFUL belligerent nurses for stopping him and that doctor for "going out for air".!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
aph47 October 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM
@Dan I'll rebut what I think you're claiming. A) parents that have two story homes carry their new babies up and down stairs regularly, presumably that's not "obviously ignorant, irresponsible and blatantly neglectful." B) babies are discharged in their parents' arms all the time when the parents do not have cars i.e. when they take the metro. Carrying a baby is not neglect. Just because you're in a hospital does not change that. Hospital rules are mere suggestions in the context of free people interacting with each other. When I go to a hospital I'm seeking their services and I'm free to leave on my terms, not theirs. The nurses are not claiming that they did not know who he was. He's a Kennedy, he had been at the hospital for three days, and he spoke to a nurse before trying to leave. No one has asserted that they thought a stranger was abducting a baby. They just didn't like the father taking the baby, the nurse testified in court that it would have been okay for mom to walk with the baby. As for the book being thrown at them on day 1, that may be true, but the charges would be no less outrageous. This father is not a criminal for instinctively responding when a nurse tried to TAKE HIS BABY. The child endangerment charges would be more properly leveled at the nurse who tried to take the baby from its parent. That behavior actually more closely fits the elements for abduction, where as a legal parent can't abduct a child unless a court has gotten involved already.
Dan Rizzi October 25, 2012 at 01:23 AM
@aph47 You are ohhh so right . Parents do have 2 story homes and carry babies up and down stairs.......Do it there then! When they slip on the coffe or water that spilled in the stairwell, they will surely....take that to court!!!!! Your right , carrying the baby in your arms is not neglect especially when they don't have a car and take the METRO.....but we all know Mr. Kennedy doesn't use that mode of transport to get home. right? Especially one exit to Chappaqua.. I never implied that it was a stranger that the nurse thought was taking the baby, but was eluding to the fact that you suggested that Women are the most prevalent abductor, and therefore was trying to educate you that it doesn't matter what gender, relationship or lack there of applies. On occasion , you may know exactly who the person is, and not know the circumstances that surround the relationship between all parties. The one evident , confirmed and known FACT is.....Mrs. Kennedy gave birth to that child, and the only person that should be carrying that baby off the Maternity Ward with confirmed matching bracelets between mother and child was Mrs Kennedy and Bo.....!
aph47 October 25, 2012 at 01:50 AM
@Dan - Well what I'm saying is that the relationship DOES matter. Both mom and dad are legal parents and therefore both of them have an equal right to remove the baby from the hospital.
C.O. October 26, 2012 at 12:54 AM
@aph47 - can you definitively prove that Kennedy is the biological father of the baby? This is why hospitals do not give extra bracelets to dads or significant others as it increases the hospitals liability and the mother is deemed as the sole decision maker for the infant. They are there in the hospital for such a short amount of time there is no reason for 'fresh air' plus you disregard the infants inability to thermoregulate efficiently after birth and cold stress KILLS infants
aph47 October 26, 2012 at 01:14 AM
@C.O - the law for custody for fathers is simple. If the man is married to the mother then he is the legal father. It doesn't matter if he's the biological dad or if the wife had an affair with another man. A child of the marriage is the legal child of the husband. That's the law in all 50 states and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the rights of married non-biological fathers AGAINST the biological dad. See Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110. It's really easy from a legal perspective - if married then husband = legal father. The hospital would have known if Kennedy was married from the intake forms. They are opening themselves up to liability by interfering with the legal custody rights of married fathers. As for the cold outside, it's not up to the nurses (legal strangers) to decide what a father does with his child. Though I would point to the testimony today where an MD said the baby was fine to go outside.
Active Yorktowner October 26, 2012 at 02:39 AM
When my kids were born at NWHC I was given a bracelet identifying me as the father. It allowed me access whenever I wanted, ie to go into the nursery to take them back to my wife's room etc. Both mom and dad received bracelets. Need to check and see if they still do. Would make a lot of the above comments moot.
aph47 October 26, 2012 at 02:50 AM
@Active Yorktowner - That sounds like the easiest way for the hospital to avoid conflicts like this while both protecting infants and the rights of the babies' fathers.
Tom Murphy October 26, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Can we just stop all this nonsense about parental rights and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. This tool kicked a nurse while he had a baby in his arms. he admits that. He should man up apologize and make it right. Instead he and his lawyer have to demomize some hard working women who were just doing their job.
Active Yorktowner October 26, 2012 at 02:54 AM
@aph47-exactly. So the question remains. 8 years later are they still giving bracelets to the father or did they change that. Would be interesting to know if kennedy had said bracelet.
Active Yorktowner October 26, 2012 at 02:56 AM
@Tom Murphy - maybe she is lucky he had the baby in his arms. Probably prevented him from punching her.
Tom Murphy October 26, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Just for the record, least anyone think my motives are political, I am a very liberal Dem whose political views are probably more in step with Ted Kennedy's then any recent politician. I just don't think a gentleman would behave in such a fashion. My father always told his son's "only punks hit women".
aph47 October 26, 2012 at 04:00 AM
They tried to take his baby out of his arms. I for one refuse to judge him for his response. As a father the desire to protect one's child is overwhelming.
Tom Murphy October 26, 2012 at 11:02 AM
The best way to protect ones child was to leave it in the nursery. Is your argument that he thought the nurses were going to hurt the baby or steal the baby? Please ,give me a break. I am sure the nurses said something like "Mr. Kennedy it is against the rules to take the baby outside. This is for the babies protection" But I guess some of us are more equal then others. But please stop with that instinctual fathers reaction nonsense to explain this tool's kicking a nurse while he held an infant. Mr. Kennedy was acting in a selfish and spoiled manner.Like a "punk".
aph47 October 26, 2012 at 08:14 PM
@Tom - There is simply no justification for this nurse to try and physically take Mr. Kennedy's baby from him without permission. You may feel that you wouldn't respond physically, but it's my opinion that Kennedy was not out of line. If someone tried to grab my baby, nurse or not, I'd get physical too.
Allison October 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
aph, let's say something bad happened to the baby while it was outside...it became hypothermic, the dad dropped it and it sustained a head injury and died or was permanently disabled, some crazy person runs by and abducts the baby, whatever. Then we'd probably see a case where the family sues the hospital and its nurses for allowing the baby to be taken outside and everyone would be vilifying them for being negligent. The hospital just can't win. The majority of infant abductions might be perpetrated by women, but as a nurse I can tell you that a lot of baby daddy drama goes on in maternity wards. That's why mothers and infants are given matching bracelets and the babies have electronic monitoring on them that sets an alarm and locks down the hospital if a baby leaves the unit. The hospital's responsibility is to protect the patient above all else. What the parents do with the baby at home is their business (unless they're breaking laws obviously), but while the hospital is responsible for the safety of the infant and therefore incurring liability, they have a right to enforce policies as they see fit. If the dad doesn't like it, he can have a chat with his wife and they can sign out AMA (against medical advice) and go outside all they want.
ja corky January 10, 2013 at 01:35 PM
The gall of the those nurses and the hospital thinking they own the baby! The parents have the authority over their child, not the overzealous nurses.
ja corky January 10, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Hospital policy is not law. Being a Kennedy haas nothing to do with it. The hospitals have these prison rules for liability reasons not for the "safety" of the child. The parents' rights trump idiot nurses and confiscatory hospital policy!
ja corky January 10, 2013 at 01:44 PM
Who decides when a baby is "ready" to go home? Women have had children delivered at home and still do! There's no reason to keep an otherwisew healthy newborn trapped in a hospital. In fact, newborns with immature immune systems are probably better off NOT being in the germ filled hospital. Ever hear of. MRSA infection?
ja corky January 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM
But trying to snatch a kid from his father's arms is NOT part of their job!


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