$8,000,000-Delayed delivery and failure to diagnose and treat fetal distress resulting in encephalopathy and cerebral palsy

The Fitzgerald Law Firm Case # A01124

Medical Malpractice

Encephalopathy, Cerebral Palsy, and Spastic Quadriplegia

Settlement: $8,000,000.00; ($5,500,000.00 to Twin A and $2,500,000.00 to Twin B)


Twin A:

  • Spastic quadriparesis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Delayed speech
  • Cognitive function deficits
  • Seizure disorder
  • Learning disabilities

Twin B:

  • Motor deficits
  • Clumsiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Learning disabilities
  • Mild static encephalopathy

Facts and Claim of Liability:

The infant Plaintiffs (twin brothers) were born on January 9, 1996, at twenty-nine weeks of gestation. Infant plaintiffs’ mother, during her pregnancy, was followed as a “high-risk” pregnancy due to a history of obesity, hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, and a myocardial infraction and the plan was to perform elective Cesarean section.

On January 6, 1996, infant Plaintiffs’ mother had a premature rupture of membranes.  The next day she was admitted to New York Methodist Hospital, the Defendant, with complaints of chest pain.  Uterine contractions commenced.  Despite Plaintiff mother’s medical history, no immediate C-section was performed and she continued to leak amniotic fluid over the next two days. A Cesarean section was decided upon on January 9, 1996, after contractions began.  However, when she was being transported to the operating room for Cesarean section, the twins were delivered precipitously and vaginally.

Twin A was born severely physically depressed. Twin A’s Apgar scores were 3 at one minute, 6 at five minutes and 8 at ten minutes. He was intubated for continued poor respiratory effort. Initial ABG show pH 7.25 pCO2 = 25 pO2 =192 and bicarbonate = 11mEq/dL consistent with mixed moderate-severe metabolic acidosis and mild respiratory alkalosis.

Twin B was born moderately physically depressed.  Apgar scores were 1 at one minute, 6 at five minutes, and 8 at ten minutes. Initial ABG showed pH 7.256 pCO2=44 pO2=62 and bicarbonate =19 mEq/dL, consistent with mild-moderate metabolic acidosis.  He was intubated for continued poor respiratory effort.

Immediately after birth, both the infants were transferred to another hospital for treatment of severe prematurity, respiratory distress syndrome, cranial intra-ventricular hemorrhage, metabolic acidosis and sepsis/meningitis.

The Fitzgerald Law Firm contended that instead of delivering shortly after admission, the twin fetuses were allowed to remain three days in an environment with imminent risk of chorioamnionitis which resulted in permanent and severe injuries to the infant Plaintiffs. The Fitzgerald Law Firm argued that the appearance of the twins at birth and the metabolic acidosis following birth strongly suggested signs of fetal distress and fetal ischemia. The Fitzgerald Law Firm successfully claimed that New York Methodist Hospital failed to (i) act in a timely manner to delay the infant Plaintiffs’ premature birth, (ii) diagnose and treat fetal distress, and (iii) perform a timely and proper delivery during the labor.  As a result, both infants suffered brain injury, severe developmental delay and other severe and permanent injuries.