Injuries: Global Developmental Delays, Microcephaly, Spastic Diplegia, Truncal Hypotonia
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on October 7, 2001 at Defendant Hospital Jamaica Hospital Medical Center at 39 weeks gestation via caesarian section. She weighed 5 lbs 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 the day before delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital at around 5:00 p.m. complaining of cramping and bloody discharge. She was admitted and examined. A fetal heart rate monitor revealed a non-reassuring pattern, and a plan was made to send plaintiff mother to labor and delivery to induce labor.
By the next day, October 7, plaintiff mother still had not given birth, and fetal heart rate tracings continued to be non-reassuring. Pitocin was administered. At around 5:00 p.m., plaintiff mother’s membranes were artificially ruptured. Five hours later, at around 10:24 p.m., infant plaintiff was born via caesarian section. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck a couple of times; however, her Apgar scores were 9 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Almost immediately after birth, she was diagnosed with laryngomalacia and stridor, and transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was intubated and put on a ventilator.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was also diagnosed with right vocal cord paresis. However, on October 26, she was discharged from the hospital.
By five months of age, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with delays in cognition, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communicative skills, and adaptive skills. She was also diagnosed with feeding and respiratory difficulties.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from global developmental delays, microcephaly, and spastic diplegia. She also suffers from mild truncal hypotonia. Although she can use the bathroom on her own, she cannot dress herself without assistance. She can neither read nor write, and her vocabulary is poor. Her deficits are permanent, and she will require custodial care for the rest of her life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in negligently administering Pitocin in light of fetal distress, which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $2,000,000.00.