Medical Malpractice, Spastic Quadriplegia, Seizure Disorder, Developmental Delays
Injuries: Spastic Quadriplegia, Seizure Disorder, Developmental Delays
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on May 26, 2007 at Weill Cornell Medical Center.
About two months later, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff had diarrhea. Initially, plaintiff mother took the baby to a private pediatrician, who told her to bring the baby back two days later if his symptoms had not subsided by then.
The next day, at around 8 p.m., plaintiff mother grew worried that infant plaintiff’s symptoms had not abated, and decided to take him to Defendant Hospital Westchester Medical Center. Infant plaintiff was admitted and hooked up to an IV. However, over the next couple of days, the diarrhea continued, and the baby grew more fussy.
On July 21, at around 3 a.m., plaintiff mother (who had been spending nights in the hospital) woke up and noticed that infant plaintiff was awake, and that his eyes were gazing upwards and to one side, and that his arms and legs were fully stretched out and stiff. Plaintiff mother immediately called for a nurse, and some of the hospital staff came in. They examined the baby for a couple of minutes and shined a light into his eyes, and eventually told plaintiff mother that everything was fine.
Hours later, plaintiff mother left the hospital to attend to some business at home. However, at around 9 a.m. she received a call from the hospital saying that they needed to perform a CT scan and MRI, as they thought infant plaintiff may have suffered a stroke and a seizure.
Plaintiff mother arrived back at the hospital at around noon to find that infant plaintiff had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. A couple of hours later, an attending physician informed plaintiff mother that the baby had indeed suffered a stroke and a seizure, which were a result of sagittal sinus thrombosis (which, in turn, was caused by the dehydration brought on by the diarrhea). Plaintiff mother was also informed that the baby was not expected to live. However, after four blood transfusions and a course of various medications, the baby was discharged from the hospital on August 3.
Currently, infant plaintiff is about five years old and is entirely dependent on others for his care. He cannot sit up on his own, and cannot crawl, stand, or walk. He can only use one word at a time to communicate (i.e., “eat,” “hi,” “bye”) and is essentially nonverbal. He wears a brace on his right arm, and is currently in occupational therapy, feeding therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. He takes three different medications to control his seizures, and his parents have to use special equipment (special strollers, prone standers) in order to help infant plaintiff go about his day to day activities. Infant plaintiff will never be employed in the competitive job market and will never be able to live independently. He will require lifelong supervision either in a residential facility or at home.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Westchester County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to give replacement fluids, failing to maintain appropriate hydration for hypernatremia in a 7-week-old with a known history of diarrhea and vomiting, and failing to timely diagnose a cerebral thrombosis, all of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff, including spastic quadriparesis, a seizure disorder, and developmental delays. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant hospital for a total of $1,850,000.00.