Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Hydrocephalus, Global Developmental Delays, Nonverbal
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 16, 1999 at Defendant Hospital Brooklyn Hospital Center at 25 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 1 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).
In late January, on January 21, plaintiff mother was at home when she began experiencing labor pains. She went to defendant hospital, where she was administered magnesium sulfate. After about a week and a half, her symptoms abated, and she was discharged.
About a week later, on January 28, plaintiff mother went to a routine prenatal appointment to find out the sex of her baby. She was told that she was having a boy, but was also told that she was completely effaced, and needed magnesium sulfate. She was admitted and administered magnesium sulfate, and once her symptoms abated, was again discharged. She was told to return for a cervical checkup not long after.
When plaintiff mother returned for her checkup, she was told that she was still dilating. She was again admitted, and this time remained in defendant hospital until delivery.
On February 14, plaintiff mother’s water broke. She was quickly wheeled to an operating room, where her cerclage was taken out. Around this time, the fetal heart rate monitor revealed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping. Hospital staff told plaintiff mother that an emergency caesarian section would have to be performed. Eventually, infant plaintiff was born. His Apgar scores were 0, 1, and 1 at 1, 5, and 10 minutes, respectively. He was immediately transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Hospital staff noted that infant plaintiff had a pneumothorax and bulging fontanelles. A chest tube was inserted.
Plaintiff mother was released from the hospital about three days later. Infant plaintiff, however, remained in the hospital for four months. An ultrasound of his head revealed a grade III-IV intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), which ultimately resulted in hydrocephalus and required 2 shunts with multiple shunt revisions.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, hydrocephalus, and global developmental delays. He currently has a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. He is nonverbal. He receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy. He is not toilet trained, and uses diapers. 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 departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section, which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $3,207,988.00.