Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Significant Developmental Delays, Legally Blind, Noncommunicative, Wheelchair-Bound
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 10, 1998 at first Defendant Hospital Long Island College Hospital three months premature (28 weeks gestation) via vaginal delivery. He weighed 3 lbs 11 oz 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 July 31 at around 11:00 p.m., plaintiff mother was at home when her water broke. She rushed to defendant hospital, but was not immediately admitted. Finally put in a room between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., plaintiff mother was examined and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. Plaintiff mother was told that the baby probably weighed less than a pound, and that if she were to deliver now he likely would not survive. She was told that the better option would be to take medications to help mature the baby’s lungs and delay the labor. Plaintiff mother agreed, and was admitted.
For the next 10 days, plaintiff mother remained in bed, where she received IV fluids and a shot in the thigh every three days.
On August 8, plaintiff mother began to experience severe cramping. She called for a nurse, but the nurse told her that she was not going into labor.
Plaintiff mother recalls that the cramping continued the next day, and the day after. Finally, on August 10, plaintiff mother was wheeled to labor and delivery, where at around 3:15 p.m. infant plaintiff was born. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Soon after birth, he was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Plaintiff mother recalls that at first, infant plaintiff appeared to be doing fine in the NICU. However, a couple of hours later, she was told that he had sepsis, and was experiencing respiratory problems. Infant plaintiff was placed in an incubator, where he remained for a long time. He was also given a number of antibiotics.
On August 14, a head sonogram revealed a grade II intraventricular hemorrhage.
Finally, in mid-September, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital. Over the course of the next five or six months, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff did not appear to be developing normally. She took him to a pediatrician, who told her that everything was fine, and the reason his development appeared arrested was merely because he had been premature.
When infant plaintiff was about seven months old, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff appeared “jerky” in his movements. She took him to the Lamm Institute in Brookly, where he was diagnosed with infantile spasms.
At seven and a half months old, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to a neurologist, who told her that infant plaintiff had cerebral palsy and significant developmental delays.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was also diagnosed legally blind. Currently, he is noncommunicative and wheelchair-bound. He cannot use the bathroom on his own, and he cannot turn over or sit up by himself. He is completely dependent on others for care, and will never be employable. His deficits are permanent and he will require custodial care for the rest of his life.
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 continue prophylactic antibiotics through plaintiff mother’s final two days before delivery, which ultimately resulted in infant plaintiff sustaining severe and permanent injuries. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $2,400,000.00.