Medical Malpractice, Spastic Quadriplegia, Seizure Disorder, Cognitive Delays, Loss of IQ, Hydrocephalus, Special Education
Injuries: Spastic Quadriplegia, Seizure Disorder, Cognitive Delays, Loss of IQ, Hydrocephalus, Special Education
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 9, 2006 at Defendant Hospital Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center via vaginal delivery. He weighed 6 lbs 10 oz at birth.
About a month before delivery, on July 16, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital complaining of early contractions. A fFN test revealed elevated fetal fibronectin levels (indicating an infection of the upper genital tract), and she was admitted. She was tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and group B (GBS) strep, but all the tests came back negative. However, a note was made to “repeat [group B strep test] at 35 to 37 weeks.” After being given prophylactic penicillin, she was discharged on July 19.
On August 7, plaintiff mother again began to experience preterm labor contractions, and decided to return to defendant hospital. She was admitted, and it was determined that she was 3 cm dilated. Eventually, however, the contractions ceased, and a couple of hours later, she was sent home.
The next day, her water broke. Plaintiff mother returned to defendant hospital at around 4 p.m., and was again admitted. This time, it was determined that there had been a preterm, premature rupture of membranes (PPROM); however, there was no GBS or UTI testing. About 6 hours later, at 10 p.m., electronic fetal heart rate monitoring revealed decreased variability in the baby’s heart rate and on-again, off-again tachycardia. The attending physician decided to administer Pitocin. At around 2 a.m., it was determined that plaintiff mother was running a slight fever (99 °F). Eventually, infant plaintiff was delivered vaginally at around 3:28 a.m. on August 9. Plaintiff mother recalls hearing the baby cry once he was born. The baby was taken to the regular nursery.
A couple of hours later, at 5:40 a.m., plaintiff mother’s temperature reached 101.1 °F. However, the baby was not tested for infection.
At around 3 p.m., the baby began to exhibit signs of grunting and tachycardia, and was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he was put on ampicillin and gentamicin. At around 8:30 p.m., he had his first seizure. Ultimately, the baby was diagnosed with GBS.
Currently, the baby is now 6 years old. He has spastic quadriplegia, which is more severe in his arms than in his legs (as he has had a couple of surgeries to release the tendons and hamstrings in his legs). He has severe cognitive delays, and has an IQ of less than 50. He also has hydrocephalus, and has had a shunt inserted in order to control it. His injuries are severe and permanent, and he will never be able to live alone. He requires supervision at all times, and he will never be gainfully employed.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant attending physician and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to properly monitor and diagnose plaintiff mother, who had had an infection during labor. This neglect resulted in infant plaintiff contracting GBS, which resulted in his sustaining severe and permanent injuries. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $2,227,272.73, including payment for pain and suffering, loss of wages, non-medical damages, and future medicals.