$29,000,000-Failure to delay premature birth caused cerebral palsy

The Fitzgerald Law Firm Case # 96181A

Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Premature Birth and Cerebral Palsy

Jury Verdict: $29,000,000


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cerebral spastic diplegia
  • Mild strabismus
  • Orthopedic complications including hip subluxation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Severe neurological dysfunction
  • Static encephalopathy manifested by spastic diaparesis
  • Wheelchair confined

Facts: The infant Plaintiff was delivered vaginally at 29-30 weeks of gestation (premature birth) at New York Methodist Hospital. The Plaintiff was the product of a pregnancy with insulin-dependent diabetes and hypothyroidism on Synthroid.  The Plaintiff’s mother’s obstetrical history was also remarkable for a prior pregnancy that ended at 30 weeks in fetal demise.

One day prior to delivery, the Plaintiff’s mother presented to New York Methodist Hospital with complaints of abdominal cramps and significant bleeding. On admission, the infant Plaintiff’s mother was placed on Magnesium Sulfate but continued to labor and had dilated to 5 cm by the following day. Magnesium Sulfate was then discontinued and labor was augmented with Pitocin. The Plaintiff was delivered approximately 4 hours later by a low-outlet forceps delivery due to poor expulsion.

At birth, Apgar scores of 4 and 4 at 1 and 5 minutes respectively, were noted. The infant Plaintiff was described as limp and blue, was bagged with 100% oxygen and intubated. Problems at birth included prematurity, severe respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, funisitis and acute chorioamnionitis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, hyperbilirubinemia, and birth asphyxia. The infant Plaintiff was transfused for anemia as well as treated for hyponatremia and hypocalcemia. Several episodes of apnea, bradycardia and desaturations were also noted. The infant Plaintiff was discharged after two months of hospitalization.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm successfully argued that New York Methodist Hospital, its agent and employees failed to properly monitor the fetal condition prior to delivery by means of electronic fetal heart monitor [EFHM] and deliver immediately by cesarean section given the first signs of fetal distress as evidenced by a non-reactive non-stress test [NST].

The Fitzgerald Law Firm contended that it was hospital negligence for New York Methodist Hospital to fail to administer antibiotics upon admission or, in the alternate, proceed to deliver earlier by cesarean to prevent the fetus from remaining in an environment with imminent risks. The Fitzgerald Law Firm successfully claimed that New York Methodist Hospital failed to (i) inhibit preterm labor (premature birth), (ii) facilitate fetal lung maturity and reduce the respiratory distress associated with prematurity, (iii) prevent birth asphyxia, (iv) perform a timely and proper delivery during the labor and conform to good and accepted standards of medical practice, thereby resulting in permanent and severe injuries to the Plaintiff, including cerebral palsy.

Settlement: $7,300,000.