Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Hydrocephalus, Seizure Disorder
Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Hydrocephalus, Seizure Disorder
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on June 22, 1998 at Defendant Hospital Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center at 26 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 2 lbs 2 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had a relatively uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day of delivery at around 9:00 p.m., plaintiff mother was at home when she began to experience light vaginal contractions. She called defendant hospital and informed them that she was experiencing contractions; however, she was told not to come in to defendant hospital unless her contractions had not subsided by 1:00 p.m. Plaintiff mother’s contractions did not subside, and she arrived at defendant hospital about an hour later, at 2:00 p.m. She was examined by a doctor and told that she was approximately 5 cm dilated. She was then put into a room, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. She was also given steroid injections to accelerate the maturation of the baby’s lungs and tocolytics to suppress the premature labor.
At around 6:00 p.m., a sonogram revealed that the baby was in breech position. A doctor informed plaintiff mother that an emergency caesarian section was now necessary.
Less than two hours later, at 8:21 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. However, plaintiff mother was not able to see him until the next day. Plaintiff mother saw that he was hooked up to a ventilator and various other machines. Plaintiff mother was informed that there was a “tear” in the baby’s lungs.
When infant plaintiff was 1 week old, an MRI revealed that there was water in the baby’s brain. Infant plaintiff was diagnosed with hydrocephalus.
At one month old, infant plaintiff had surgery. He had shunts inserted into both sides of his head to drain away fluid. At seven months old, infant plaintiff was transferred to Beth Israel Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At eight months old, infant plaintiff had another surgery to replace the shunts. Shortly thereafter, infant plaintiff was finally discharged from the hospital.
However, at one year old, infant plaintiff had another surgery on his shunts, and he began seizing.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, hydrocephalus, and seizure disorder. He is wheelchair-bound, and must wear bilateral ankle foot orthoses braces on his legs as well as a hand splint on his right hand. He is not toilet-trained, and he cannot bathe or dress himself, or get out of his wheelchair on his own. He is easily distracted, and has difficulty focusing on activities. He also suffers spasms on a daily basis. His deficits are permanent, and he will require custodial care for the rest of his life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to tell plaintiff mother to come to defendant hospital right away on the morning of June 22, and failing to timely perform an operative procedure to insert shunts in infant plaintiff’s head to relieve pressure from progressive hydrocephalus. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $1,000,000.00.