Injuries: Cardiorespiratory Arrest, Bilateral Pneumothoraces, Spastic Quadriplegia, Severe Developmental Delays, Seizure Disorder, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 21, 2002 at Defendant Hospital SUNY Downstate Medical Center via caesarean section. He weighed 8 lbs 10 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She also tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day before delivery, plaintiff mother was at her last prenatal care appointment. A doctor told her that the sonogram showed that the baby was “big,” and that she should probably deliver via caesarian section. Plaintiff mother agreed, and a caesarian section was scheduled at defendant hospital.
Plaintiff mother returned home. However, hours later, she began experiencing severe labor pains. The next morning, at around 8:00 a.m., plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital. Plaintiff mother was admitted right away because of the scheduled caesarian section. She was given an epidural, and less than three hours later, a little after 11:00 a.m., infant plaintiff was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that a doctor seemed very concerned about infant plaintiff’s weak cry, so infant plaintiff was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) almost immediately after birth.
While in the NICU, infant plaintiff began having episodes where he stopped breathing. Plaintiff also began experiencing involuntary movements, and he was put on Phenobarbital.
Eventually, it was determined that infant plaintiff’s diaphragm wasn’t working properly. In April, infant plaintiff underwent surgery to correct the problem.
In May, infant plaintiff’s condition had improved, and he was transferred out of the NICU.
On June 6, however, plaintiff mother received a call from the hospital. She was told that infant plaintiff’s lungs had collapsed, and that infant plaintiff had been clinically dead for 55 minutes, although he was eventually resuscitated.
Tests were run, and a neurologist told plaintiff mother that the lack of oxygen to infant plaintiff’s brain had resulted in permanent brain damage.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from cardiorespiratory arrest, bilateral pneumothoraces, spastic quadriplegia, severe developmental delays, seizure disorder, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, gastroesophageal reflux disease and visual deficits / impairments. He is wheelchair bound, wears leg braces, hard braces and a back brace, and utilizes a feeding tube. He will remain in this condition for the rest of his life, and will never be able to live alone.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York Court of Claims, arguing that defendant hospital staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in negligently making multiple attempts to place a peripheral line in an unstable infant in an effort to perform an MRI, which resulted in infant plaintiff sustaining severe and permanent injuries. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $1,275,000.00.