Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegia, Impairments of Expressive Language, Fine Motor Functioning, Visuospatial Construction, Visuospatial Perception, Auditory Attention and Cognitive Flexibility
Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Diplegia, Impairments of Expressive Language, Fine Motor Functioning, Visuospatial Construction, Visuospatial Perception, Auditory Attention and Cognitive Flexibility
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on September 12, 1995 at Defendant Hospital Jacobi Medical Center at 28 weeks gestation via caesarian section. He weighed 2 lbs 11 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), although she did test positive for chorioamniotitis later on in the pregnancy.
On September 6, plaintiff mother was at home when she had spontaneous rupture of membranes (SROM). She called for an ambulance, and was transported to defendant hospital. She was admitted and administered ampicillin, as well as steroids to accelerate maturation of the baby’s lungs (as the baby was very premature). Hospital staff noted that plaintiff mother had low levels of amniotic fluid.
The next day, on September 7, a sonogram revealed that the baby was in a footling breech position. At around 7:45 p.m., plaintiff mother was given an epidural. At this time, the fetal heart rate monitor showed a fetal heart rate of 150-160 beats per minute (bpm) with variable decelerations to 70-90 bpm.
A couple of days later, plaintiff mother was told that it was likely that she would need to deliver her baby via caesarian section.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was born at around 10:05 p.m. on September 12. His Apgar scores were 3 and 7 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Plaintiff mother recalls that infant plaintiff did not cry, and did not appear to be breathing. Hospital staff noted that infant plaintiff initiated no respiratory effort, and shortly thereafter infant plaintiff was intubated and transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). After 24 hours, infant plaintiff was weaned off intubation. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), anemia of prematurity, hyperbilirubinemia, and presumed sepsis, although his respiratory status and overall condition improved during his stay in the NICU.
On September 14, an initial neurosonogram was normal, with no evidence of intracranial hemorrhage or ventriculomegaly.
Eventually, after a little over a month, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital. Ultimately, however, he was diagnosed with gross motor delays, poor head control and increased tone. A neurosonogram revealed ventriculomegaly of the lateral ventricles and mild ventriculomegaly of the third ventricle, as well as evidence of cortical atrophy.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from cerebral palsy, impairments of expressive language, fine motor functioning, visuospatial construction, visuospatial perception, auditory attention and cognitive flexibility. He receives speech / language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, tutoring, and cognitive rehabilitation.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely perform a caesarian section in light of evidence of fetal distress, and that this resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $3,190,000.00.