Cerebral Palsy, Significant Developmental and Cognitive Delays, Shunt Dependent, Behavioral and Attention Problems
Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Significant Developmental and Cognitive Delays, Shunt Dependent, Behavioral and Attention Problems
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on November 23, 2004 at first defendant hospital Albert Einstein Hospital at 34 weeks gestation via caesarian section. She weighed 4 lbs 11 oz at birth.
On November 10, plaintiff mother presented to first defendant hospital complaining of mild contractions, and she was admitted. Plaintiff mother recalls that after she was examined, a plan for an eventual caesarian section was made. Fetal heart tracings at this time were reassuring.
The next day, on November 11, fetal heart tracings were still reassuring. However, hospital staff noted that there was a leakage of clear fluid. Ultimately, they ruled out preterm labor (PTL). Plaintiff mother remained under observation. On November 21, hospital staff scheduled plaintiff mother for induction of labor on November 23.
On November 23 at around 8:30 a.m., plaintiff mother was sent to labor and delivery. Although there was still a leakage of clear fluid, fetal heart tracings remained reassuring. However, at 12:30 p.m., the fetal heart rate dropped below 100 for more than ten minutes, but baseline heart rate was restored shortly thereafter.
By 1:30 p.m., there were spontaneous decelerations, which were preceded by drops in fetal heart rate below 100. However, there was again recovery after a couple of minutes. Hospital staff decided to go through with a Pitocin induction if the fetal heart rate stabilized.
By 3:20 p.m., however, fetal heart tracings indicated decelerations to the low 60s for over four minutes. Hospital staff decided that an emergency caesarian section was now necessary, and rushed plaintiff mother to the operating room. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was born about fifteen minutes later, at 3:34 p.m. Her Apgar scores were 4 and 5 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Hospital staff noted that infant plaintiff was limp and cyanotic and had no respiratory effort. She was intubated in the operating room and then rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was ultimately diagnosed with neonatal respiratory distress and sepsis. Later that day, she was also diagnosed with a grade II intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).
On infant plaintiff’s third day of life, the grade II IVH had progressed to a grade III IVH. By her ninth day of life, it had progressed to a grade IV IVH. On December 18, infant plaintiff was transferred from first defendant hospital to second defendant hospital Montefiore Medical Center for shunt placement, which was performed on December 30. Two days later, on January 1, infant plaintiff was discharged.
On April 25, infant plaintiff returned to second defendant hospital to have the shunt removed.
Two days later, on April 27, infant plaintiff presented to second defendant hospital with a fever. A shunt tap revealed that infant plaintiff had an infection, which one of the doctors said was likely from the shunt that was placed. A head CT revealed a small chronic subdural hematoma.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and significant developmental and cognitive delays. To date, she has had several shunt malfunctions and five shunt replacements and seven surgeries. She remains shunt dependent and is at risk for blockage, reoccurrence of hydrocephalus and shunt infection as well as ventriculitis and meningitis. She also has poor single leg balance ability and behavioral and attention problems.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that first defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely perform a caesarian section and negligently administering Pitocin, both of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff; and that second defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in negligently placing infant plaintiff’s shunt, which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $1,900,000.00.