Injuries: Cerebral Hypotonia, Cerebral Palsy, Profound Developmental Delays, Nonverbal, Blind, Wheelchair-Bound
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 7, 2001 at Defendant Hospital New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia Presbyterian Center at 25 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. She weighed 7 lbs 8 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 also tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI), although she developed a kidney infection during the sixth month of pregnancy.
About a week before delivery, on August 1, plaintiff mother presented to another hospital’s emergency room complaining of a lack of fetal movement. She was admitted and examined, and told that hospital staff was having a hard time detecting the fetal heart rate, and that she needed to have her labor induced at defendant hospital.
Plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital at around 3:30 p.m. Finally put into a room between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m., plaintiff mother was examined and told by a doctor that she was not dilated and, because she was not having any labor pains or contractions, she should go home. Plaintiff mother was told to return to defendant hospital on August 10 if she had not gone into labor by then.
On August 7, at around 1:00 p.m., plaintiff mother, who had been experiencing severe vaginal discomfort all day, decided to go to back to defendant hospital’s emergency room. Plaintiff mother recalls that at first, they did not want to admit her (because she already had an appointment scheduled for August 10); however, they relented when plaintiff mother again complained of lack of fetal movement. She was put into a room at around 3:00 p.m. An external monitor revealed that, although she could not feel them, she was having contractions. At this point, plaintiff mother was administered Pitocin.
At around 8:00 p.m., plaintiff mother recalls that a doctor artificially ruptured her membranes (AROM) to move the labor along. Finally, a couple of hours later, at 10:17 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that she was “dark blue” and did not appear to be breathing. Infant plaintiff’s Apgar scores were 6, 7, and 8 at 1, 5, and 10 minutes, respectively. Almost immediately, hospital staff rushed her out of the room and took him to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
A couple of days later, plaintiff mother was released from the hospital, but infant plaintiff remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Plaintiff mother was told that infant plaintiff was “okay” and not to worry. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was discharged a couple of days later, on August 13.
When infant plaintiff was a month old, she noticed that infant plaintiff’s little finger on her left hand was “twisted.” She took infant plaintiff to her pediatrician, who told plaintiff mother that there seemed to be other things wrong aside from infant plaintiff’s little finger.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral hypotonia and cerebral palsy. Currently, she suffers from profound developmental delays, and has several minor dysmorphic features. She is nonverbal, blind, and wheelchair-bound. She is completely dependent on others for all her daily activities. Her deficits are permanent and she will require custodial care for the rest of her life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York 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 negligently administering Pitocin when it was contraindicated, which ultimately resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $1,500,000.00.