$2,244,000 – Developmental, Motor, and Language Delays

F&F# A05168

Developmental, Motor, and Language Delays, Limited Use of Right Hand

Settlement: $2,244,000

Injuries: Developmental, Motor, and Language Delays, Limited Use of Right Hand

Facts and Claim of Liability:

Infant plaintiff was born on April 15, 2005 at Defendant Hospital New York Methodist Hospital at 37 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. She weighed 5 lbs 3 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).

On April 15 at 3:00 p.m., plaintiff mother went to a routine prenatal appointment. A sonogram revealed that the baby had a low birth weight, so plaintiff mother was sent to defendant hospital’s labor and delivery unit. However, plaintiff mother recalls that when she got there, there were “too many people.” Plaintiff mother was told to go “walk around” for awhile, and then come back.

At around 7:30 p.m., plaintiff mother returned to defendant hospital. A half hour later, she was put into a room and examined. She was told that she was not having any contractions, and that the baby was “fine.”

By 9:30 p.m., however, plaintiff mother was experiencing significant labor pains and contractions, and the fetal heart monitor was showing decreased variability and variable decelerations. Plaintiff mother recalls that there were no doctors around because another woman in the labor and delivery unit was hemorrhaging and most of the hospital staff were attending to her. A midwife and a nurse performed artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) and started plaintiff mother on Pitocin. About two hours later, infant plaintiff was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that there was no immediate cry from the newborn, and that she appeared “gray” and “floppy.” It was only when hospital staff “flicked” the baby that she began to cry. Her Apgar scores were 7 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Shortly thereafter, infant plaintiff was taken to the regular nursery.

The next day, plaintiff mother asked hospital staff if her baby could be brought to her. A nurse told her that that was not possible, because the baby was “twitching” and “having episodes of apnea,” and was being transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

A couple of hours later, plaintiff mother went to see infant plaintiff in the NICU. She was told that infant plaintiff had been seizing since about 4:00 a.m. A CT scan of infant plaintiff’s brain did not reveal any intracranial hemorrhage, and all cultures remained negative. Eventually, infant plaintiff was transferred to Schneider Children’s Hospital at plaintiff mother and plaintiff father’s request. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father were told that infant plaintiff’s condition was likely due to oxygen deprivation either before or during birth. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with developmental, motor, and language delays.

Currently, infant plaintiff has cognitive limitations, limitations in the use of her right hand, and an awkward gait. She cannot tie her shoes or button / unbutton her clothes, and she may never be able to do so because she cannot use her right hand (due to the poor prehensile skills of her right hand). She requires assistance performing activities of daily living. She will never be able to live independently, and will require lifelong supervision.

Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings 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 failing to timely deliver in light of the non-reassuring fetal heart rate (FHR) monitor strips, improperly allowing a nurse-midwife to administer Pitocin, failing to appropriately manage a high-risk delivery, failing to have a competent doctor / obstetrician present at delivery, and failing to have a pediatrician present at delivery, and that all of these resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff.  Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $2,244,000.00.