Mental Retardation, Developmental Delays, Hyperactivity
Injuries: Mental Retardation, Developmental Delays, Hyperactivity
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on May 2, 2001 at Defendant Hospital New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center at 28 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 2 lbs 13 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 tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
In April, when plaintiff mother was 6 ½ months pregnant, she went to defendant hospital for a routine checkup. She was examined, and told that she needed to be admitted because she had placenta previa. Plaintiff mother recalls that from this point forward, she had a fetal heart monitor on her stomach and was administered steroid injections to accelerate the maturation of the baby’s lungs. Plaintiff mother was also put on bed rest.
On April 28, plaintiff mother began experiencing “light” pain and discomfort. She informed hospital staff, who performed another sonogram and looked at the strips from the fetal heart monitor. However, nothing more was done, and plaintiff mother continued to be on bed rest.
On May 1, plaintiff mother was given a dose of Pitocin. A doctor informed her that she’d been having contractions, and that she was about 3 cm dilated. Plaintiff mother recalls not feeling the contractions or any pain. She also recalls being told that she had a small cervix.
The next day, on May 2, plaintiff mother woke with a high fever. She began feeling extremely cold, and began to shake uncontrollably. Plaintiff mother informed hospital staff about her symptoms. Hospital staff suspected chorioamnionitis. Almost immediately, she was transferred to an operating room for an emergency caesarian section. Shortly thereafter, infant plaintiff was born. His Apgar scores were 3 and 5 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Infant plaintiff also exhibited signs of hypotonia (low muscle tone).
Plaintiff mother was not conscious during the procedure, and was told later on that infant plaintiff had immediately been transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because he was premature, and had managed to catch some of the infection that plaintiff mother had. Plaintiff mother recalls that this was the first time anyone had told her that she had an infection. While in the NICU, infant plaintiff was started on broad spectrum antibiotics.
Ultimately, plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital on May 6. Infant plaintiff, however, remained in the hospital for over a month. At nine days old, infant plaintiff had a seizure. Plaintiff mother was told that the seizure was due to his immune system being weak, and that fighting the infection had put a great strain on his body. Plaintiff mother was also told that an MRI had revealed that the seizure had damaged the front part of infant plaintiff’s brain, but that it was too soon to tell how the damage would impact infant plaintiff in the future. Hospital staff now suspected that infant plaintiff’s symptoms were due not to a bacterial infection, but to a fungal one, and he was put on different antibiotics. Not long after, infant plaintiff was discharged from defendant hospital.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from mental retardation and developmental delays. He is hyperactive and has a very short attention span. He wears ankle braces on both legs. He is dependent on others to dress and bathe him. He requires constant supervision and does not appreciate danger. His neurological injuries and disabilities are permanent, and he will never be able to live independently. He will require constant supervision either at home or in a residential setting.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant doctor departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to prevent, diagnose, and timely treat infant plaintiff’s candida infection, and that this resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $2,500,000.00.