Medical Malpractice / Birth Trauma, Amputated Left Leg, Severely Deformed Right Foot, Walk With Prosthesis, Developmental Delays, Cognitive Deficits
Injuries: Amputated Left Leg, Severely Deformed Right Foot, Walk With Prosthesis, Developmental Delays, Cognitive Deficits
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on March 5, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Jacobi Medical Center at 32 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. The baby weighed 3 lbs 12 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She did not experience high blood pressure, and did not have protein in her urine, or any blood changes. She did not have pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes, and tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
At around 4 a.m. on the day of delivery, plaintiff mother noticed blood running down her leg, and realized that she was experiencing vaginal bleeding. She decided to go to defendant hospital, and arrived at around 6 a.m. Plaintiff mother was hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor, which showed that the baby’s fetal heart rate was within normal range. Doctors suspected that the vaginal bleeding was due to placentral abruption. Plaintiff mother was administered dexamethasone and monitored for further bleeding. Doctors at this time decided against delivery.
About four hours later, at around 10 a.m., plaintiff mother began to go into labor. She was given a steroid shot, but nothing was administered to stop her contractions.
Five hours later, at 3 p.m., the fetal heart rate monitor indicated that the baby was beginning to experience bradycardia, and was in distress. Also around this time, plaintiff mother began to experience difficulty breathing. A doctor informed her that they would need to perform an emergency caesarian section, but did not explain why. Plaintiff mother also recalls someone saying that there were only a couple of minutes to save both her and the baby’s lives. She was put to sleep, and an emergency caesarian section was performed. Fifteen minutes later, the baby was born.
At around 4 p.m., Plaintiff mother woke up and was told by a surgeon that the baby’s feet had been tied together by the umbilical cord while she was in the womb, and that as a result the baby’s legs were severely damaged. The left leg had to be amputated just below the knee immediately after birth, and the right foot and leg were deformed and would require reconstructive surgery once the baby reached eight weeks. The surgeon told Plaintiff mother that the baby would likely be able to walk with her right leg.
On March 16, a neuro sonogram was performed. The doctor who read the results believed they showed a possible grade I hemorrhage, but the attending physician disagreed.
A couple of weeks later, the baby was discharged. On March 31, however, a CT scan of the baby’s brain revealed grade I bleeding in the baby’s brain.
At eight years old, the child suffers from developmental delays in both language and speech. She also suffers from cognitive deficits, and requires special education and related services. Her right arm and hand are very weak, causing her difficulty in maintaining her hold on various objects, and she cannot dress herself. She also walks with some difficulty with a left lower leg prosthesis.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital and staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff by failing to perform a timely caesarian section in light of the baby’s being in distress prior to delivery, and that this resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $1,500,000.00. This included payment for pain and suffering, loss of wages, non-medical damages, and future medical damages.