Amputated Foot, Grade III Bleed, Possible Cerebral Palsy
Injuries: Amputated Foot, Grade III Bleed, Possible Cerebral Palsy
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 14, 2008 at Defendant Hospital Elmhurst Hospital Center at 25 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. He weighed 11 lbs 10 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She did not experience high blood pressure, and did not have protein in her urine, or any blood changes. She did not have pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes, and tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
At about one in the morning on the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital complaining of contractions, and informed some of the staff that she had been having them about ten minutes apart. She was sent to labor and delivery, where a doctor examined her and told her that her water had not yet broken. She was then admitted, and put in an observation room with a fetal monitor placed on her stomach.
At around 9 a.m., another doctor examined plaintiff mother and unstitched her cervical cerclage, telling her that, due to her contractions, she was about to have her baby. Five hours later, the baby was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that at the time he was born, she did not hear him crying. He was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and intubated, and he also received a number of blood transfusions. An IV was also attached to both his left foot and his umbilicus.
Three weeks later, a head ultrasound revealed mild grade I bleeding in the baby’s brain. Plaintiff mother recalls doctors reassuring her and telling her not to worry. Shortly thereafter, a doctor ordered an antifungal medication administered, as the baby had developed a strange, reddish-colored wound on his foot due to either (she was told) an IV infiltration or blood clot.
A couple of days later, Plaintiff mother noticed a small, thin line darkening in the wound. She asked some of the staff what this development meant, and was told that it was due to a lack of blood flow in the baby’s foot.
The following month, a second head ultrasound was ordered, and revealed grade III to IV bleeding in the baby’s brain. Plaintiff mother was informed by a doctor that this development was “serious” and that he was not sure whether the baby would be able to walk. He also thought it was possible that the baby might develop cerebral palsy. A couple of weeks later, the baby had to have all of the toes on his left foot removed because of the lack of blood flow in his foot. Another couple of weeks later, in the beginning of April, doctors had to remove the baby’s left foot in its entirety because it had become gangrenous.
At four and a half months old, the baby was still hospitalized, and still frequently required oxygen.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital and staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to diagnose a complication of the umbilical arterial line and that this departure resulted in the amputation of the child’s left foot, as well as other severe and permanent injuries. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $2,400,000.000.00.