$4,000,000-Delay in performing C-section led to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral palsy

The Fitzgerald Law Firm Case # A03127

Medical Malpractice Attorney

Cerebral Palsy and Autism

Settlement: $4,000,000.00


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spastic quadriplegia
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning difficulties
  • Inability to ambulate independently
  • Dysarthria and hypophonia
  • Need for knee high braces
  • Dependency upon pediatric posterior walker

The Plaintiff suffers from motor weakness affecting his articulation and motor skills. He walks with a walker, wears knee high braces and has significant weakness in the upper limbs. His speech is not clear and has problem with the pronunciation of words. He needs assistance for all daily living activities including wiping, bathing, brushing his teeth and dressing up. He has difficulty swallowing his food. The Plaintiff receives occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy at school.

Facts and Claim of Liability:

The Plaintiff was born at Maimonides Medical Center on April 6, 2000 as a full term baby.

The Plaintiff’s mother received prenatal care from Dr. Janet Rubinstein (the “Defendant Doctor”) from 21 weeks of gestation. On April 5, 2000, the mother’s water broke with green fluid at 11:40 p.m. Upon the advice of the Defendant Doctor, the Plaintiff mother went to Maimonides Medical Center and was subsequently admitted at 12:48 a.m. on April 6, 2000. However, the Defendant Doctor arrived at Maimonides Medical Center only at 8:00 a.m., almost 7 hours after the Plaintiff mother’s admission.

On admission, the mother was noted to have high blood pressure. No contractions were noted at that time. The leakage of green fluid continued, without any noticeable progress of labor. At 1:30 a.m., a cervidil was placed and taken out at 6:55 a.m. At 8:20 a.m. an epidural was given. At 9:00 a.m., labor was further augmented by inducing pitocin. Between 1:31 p.m. and 1:41 p.m., fetal bradycardia was noted.  At 2:00 p.m, dilation was noted to be at 10 centimeters. The fetal heart monitoring strips (FHMS) which stopped at 2:50 p.m. recorded a flat baseline and minimal beat-to-beat variability. Fetal tachycardia, decelerations, failure to descend and thick meconium staining were also noted.  Finally at 3:30 p.m., an emergency C Section was decided upon due to arrest of descent.  The Plaintiff was delivered at 4:07 p.m. with Apgar scores of 4 at 1 minute and 7 at 5 minutes.               

After birth, the Plaintiff was intubated and transferred to the NICU. He was noted to be cyanotic, floppy and hypotonic. A MRI indicated that the infant Plaintiff had bilateral abnormal diffusion consistent with ishemic brain injury, specifically hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).  Seizures were noted on the 1st day of life. Plaintiff remained in NICU for nine days and was then transferred to the nursery for two days.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm successfully claimed that the Defendant Doctor and Maimonides Medical Center, its agent and employees, departed from generally good and accepted medical practice by failing to: (i) diagnose pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia; (ii) recognize and take cognizance of the existence of fetal distress and take prompt action to prevent the same; (iii) properly monitor fetal heart rate so as to prevent progressive hypoxia; (iv) recognize varied decelerations, bradycardia and tachycardia; (v) terminate labor even after notice of ruptured membranes with meconium; (vi) perform a timely C-section in the face of fetal distress, which resulted in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, perinatal asphyxia, respiratory distress of the newborn and neonatal neurological syndrome and other severe and permanent injuries to the Plaintiff.