Spastic Right Hemiplegia, Seizure Disorder, Bowel and Bladder Incontinence, Developmental Delays
Injuries: Spastic Right Hemiplegia, Seizure Disorder, Bowel and Bladder Incontinence, Developmental Delays
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on July 13, 1998 at St. John’s Hospital at 37 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery.
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).
Infant plaintiff was delivered vaginally and without incident. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively, and he was transferred to the regular nursery.
The next day, a circumcision was done by an OB. However, the site of the circumcision began to ooze blood, so arrangements were made for infant plaintiff to be transferred to Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). Before he was transferred, he began vomiting blood. He was also noted to have tremors and a positive guaiac test. Once he was transferred to WCMC, further tests were run. An ultrasound of infant plaintiff’s head was also performed, but it did not reveal any intraventricular hemorrhage.
A couple of days later, on July 18, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital. Hospital staff told plaintiff mother to bring infant plaintiff back for a follow-up 10 days later, which she did. Ultimately, on August 4, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with Factor V Deficiency.
On August 19, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to WCMC’s emergency room because infant plaintiff’s right arm had swelling. The impression was muscle hematoma; however, infant plaintiff was not treated. The hematoma was still apparent on August 20 when infant plaintiff returned to the pediatric hematology unit; however, again, infant plaintiff was not treated.
Less than a month later, on September 9, plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to another hospital to see another doctor (defendant doctor #1) because, three days earlier, infant plaintiff sustained a scratch on his face that bled for 2 to 5 hours. Defendant doctor #1 advised plaintiff mother to follow up with another doctor in two weeks. However, infant plaintiff was not treated at that time, in spite of his Factor V Deficiency and history of a scratch that did not stop bleeding for hours.
On September 13, plaintiff mother rushed infant plaintiff to WCMC’s emergency room and told hospital staff that she had noticed a “weakness” on the left side of infant plaintiff’s face, and that infant plaintiff’s eyes had been rolling back into his head. Infant plaintiff was admitted. A couple of hours later, a CT scan revealed a large left-sided subdural hematoma, as well as evidence of infarction, brain herniation and chronic and acute bleeding. Infant plaintiff was rushed to the operating room for a craniotomy; however, from that point forward, infant plaintiff was severely neurologically damaged.
Currently, infant plaintiff is mentally retarded, which increases complications of his bleeding disorder. He cannot walk, talk, or feed himself. He is not toilet trained. He continues to receive special education, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy at home. His cognitive skills are extremely low. He is classified as a student with multiple disabilities. His deficits are permanent and he will require custodial care for the rest of his life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Westchester County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant doctors departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to tell plaintiff mother on September 11 to immediately bring infant plaintiff to the emergency room when infant plaintiff was showing signs of a brain hemorrhage, which ultimately resulted in severe and permanent damage to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $2,900,000.00.