Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Partial Blindness, Developmental Delays
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on January 4, 2003 at Defendant Hospital Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center at 34 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. She weighed 3 lbs 2 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); however, she developed preeclampsia later on in her pregnancy.
About a week before delivery, plaintiff mother was at a prenatal appointment. The doctor who was examining her realized that her blood pressure was extremely high. He performed an emergency ultrasound, and told plaintiff mother that the fetus appeared to be losing weight. The doctor made an appointment for plaintiff mother at defendant hospital on January 4, and told plaintiff mother to go home, but to remain on bed rest until then.
On January 4, plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital at around 5:00 p.m. She was admitted and examined, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. The fetal heart rate monitor revealed that the baby was in distress, so about 45 minutes later, hospital staff wheeled her to the operating room. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was born via emergency caesarian section at 6:15 p.m. Her Apgar scores were 4 and 7 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. She was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she received phototherapy for jaundice.
Plaintiff mother was released from the hospital about a week later. Infant plaintiff, however, remained in the NICU for three weeks before she was discharged.
In July, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to a neurologist because she had noticed that infant plaintiff was not using her right side. An MRI revealed that infant plaintiff had had a stroke. Hospital staff told plaintiff mother that it had likely occurred in utero.
In the months that followed, infant plaintiff developed developmental delays. She did not walk until 24 months of age. Words began at approximately 12 months, and she was speaking in sentences at approximately 2 ½ years of age.
Infant plaintiff also developed strabismus and required surgical repair.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from cerebral palsy and partial blindness in her left eye. She wears a brace on her left hand. She is able to run, but she falls a lot because of her unsteady gait. She needs assistance to climb stairs because she cannot use her right hand to grasp the banister. She requires assistance with feeding, toileting and dressing.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to treat plaintiff mother as a high-risk pregnancy, failing to admit plaintiff mother earlier for, and manage, her obvious preeclampsia, and failing to administer corticosteroids to accelerate infant plaintiff’s lung development, all of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $2,250,000.00.