Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy, Panhypopituitarism, Seizure Disorder, Developmental Delays, Delays in Speech, Language, Higher Cortical Functions, Attention and Memory Problems
Injuries: Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy, Panhypopituitarism, Seizure Disorder, Developmental Delays, Delays in Speech, Language, Higher Cortical Functions, Attention and Memory Problems
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on September 7, 2006 at Defendant Hospital Harlem Hospital Center at 39 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. He weighed 8 lbs 6 oz.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have high blood pressure, protein in her urine, or blood changes. She tested negative for urinary tract infection (UTI), and as late as eight months tested negative for group B streptococcus (GBS).
On the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital complaining of severe labor pains and vaginal contractions. She was admitted, and put into an observation room. Plaintiff mother recalls that a fetal heart rate monitor was not placed on her stomach. She did not receive any medications, and declined to have an epidural. At around 8:00 a.m., hospital staff performed an artificial rupture of membranes (AROM), and two hours later, infant plaintiff was born. Infant plaintiff’s Apgar scores were 7 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively.
Plaintiff mother recalls hospital staff telling her that the baby had swallowed meconium. Thick meconium was suctioned, and once this happened, plaintiff mother recalls that the baby then began to cry loudly. Shortly thereafter, he was taken to the regular nursery. After two days, both plaintiff mother and infant plaintiff were discharged from the hospital.
Plaintiff mother recalls everything being fine until infant plaintiff was about nine days old. Plaintiff mother had taken infant plaintiff to defendant hospital for a pediatric appointment when all of a sudden, infant plaintiff’s eyes rolled back into his head. Infant plaintiff was immediately admitted to defendant hospital, where he was closely monitored for days before being discharged with a clean bill of health. Hospital staff attributed infant plaintiff’s eyes rolling back into his head to infantile spasms.
When infant plaintiff was a little over a month old, plaintiff mother noticed that he was running a temperature (about 100 °F). Throughout the day, his temperature continued to rise; eventually, it reached 104.1 °F. Plaintiff mother rushed him to Metropolitan Hospital, where he had a seizure. The next day, plaintiff mother briefly left the hospital, but she was called back and told that infant plaintiff had stopped breathing. Eventually, the baby was diagnosed with group B streptococcus (GBS) meningitis. Hospital staff asked plaintiff mother if she’d ever tested positive for GBS; she told them that she’d only been tested at eight months and that the test had been negative.
Currently, infant plaintiff is a neurologically devastated child with hypotonic cerebral palsy secondary to group B streptococcus (GBS) meningitis. He also has panhypopituitarism, and is currently being treated with hormone replacement therapy. He also has a history of seizures. He is severely developmentally delayed. The neurological deficits in infant plaintiff are severe and permanent. There is no meaningful possibility of independent living or employment; he will be dependent for all activities of daily living for the rest of his life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospitals departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely diagnose and treat infant plaintiff’s group B streptococcus meningitis, and that this delay in recognition and treatment directly resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $1,000,000.00.