Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Paraplegia, Cognitive Deficits, Wheelchair-Bound
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 7, 1993 at Defendant Hospital St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center at 23 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. She weighed 3 lbs 3 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 August 2, 1993 at around 2:00 a.m., plaintiff mother was at home when her water broke. Plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital at around 4:00 p.m. and was admitted, although it was determined that she was not yet ready to give birth. Hospital staff continued to monitor plaintiff mother over the next couple of days.
On August 6, hospital staff noted that plaintiff mother was running a slight temperature (99.7 degrees Fahrenheit) and that there were severe variable decelerations in fetal heart rate. A decision was made to administer Pitocin, and to deliver via caesarian section if the severe variable decelerations persisted and there continued to be a lack of progress in the labor.
The next day, on August 7, plaintiff mother was administered Pitocin at around noon. However, over the course of the next several hours, the fetal heart rate monitor showed repetitive deep variable decelerations. Finally, at around 7:46 a.m., infant plaintiff was delivered via emergency caesarian section. She had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice. Her Apgar scores, however, were 8 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Placental pathology revealed acute chorioamnionitis and funisitis.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with both cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder. She currently suffers from cognitive deficits and depression. She is wheelchair-bound when she is outside of the home and in school. She has limited use of her hands.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely deliver via emergency caesarian section in light of maternal fever and nonreassuring fetal heart rate tracings. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $1,500,000.00.