Birth Trauma, Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy, Spasticity, Seizure Disorder, Significant Developmental Delays, Significant Speech and Language Developmental Delays, Delayed Visual Spacial Skills, Delayed Fine Motor Skills
Injuries: Birth Trauma, Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy, Spasticity, Seizure Disorder, Significant Developmental Delays, Significant Speech and Language Developmental Delays, Delayed Visual Spacial Skills, Delayed Fine Motor Skills
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 3, 2001 at Defendant Hospital Long Island College Hospital via vaginal delivery. She weighed 7 lbs 13 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 high blood pressure, protein in her urine, or blood changes. She tested negative for urinary tract infection (UTI), although she tested positive for Group B streptococcus (GBS) on the day of infant plaintiff’s birth (February 3, 2001), although this was not reported until two days later (February 5, 2001).
On the day before delivery at around 10 p.m., plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital complaining of labor pains and vaginal contractions. She was examined, told that she was in active labor, and sent to labor and delivery, where she was put into a room. A fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. At around 11:05 p.m., meconium and fetal bradycardia were noted. Shortly thereafter, hospital staff came in and examined plaintiff mother again, and encouraged her to push. Plaintiff mother complied, and at 1:41 a.m., infant plaintiff was born. Her Apgar scores were 7 and 9 at one and five minutes, respectively.
Plaintiff mother recalls that immediately after the baby was born, there was no cry and the baby was a “reddish” color. Plaintiff mother also recalls the OB/GYN and a nurse discussing how the baby had swallowed meconium. Eventually, the baby was dried and suctioned, and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), metabolic acidosis, interstitial pneumonia, and clinical sepsis. She was treated with Ampicillin and Gentamycin. Once infant plaintiff finished her course of antibiotics, she was discharged as a healthy baby.
Plaintiff mother recalls that infant plaintiff seemed fine until she was about four months old. Plaintiff mother noticed that the baby never made any attempt to roll over. Plaintiff mother took the baby to a pediatrician, who told plaintiff mother that everything was fine.
When infant plaintiff was six months old, plaintiff mother noticed that although infant plaintiff had begun to roll over, she had a habit of “stiffening” her legs and feet. Again, plaintiff mother took the baby to the pediatrician, and again, the pediatrician told plaintiff mother that she had nothing to worry about.
When infant plaintiff was ten months old, plaintiff mother decided to take her to another doctor, and infant plaintiff was evaluated. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and significant developmental delays.
Currently, infant plaintiff is unable to dress herself. She cannot manipulate buttons or zippers. She cannot feed herself, and she requires assistance in bathing. She can speak, but can only communicate in 2 to 3 word sentences. She receives Botox injections for her seizures. Her neurological and neurodevelopmental disabilities are permanent and will continue. They will prevent her from being educated in a conventional classroom, and will prevent her from ever being employed in the competitive job market. She will never be able to live independently, and will require lifelong supervision either at home or in a residential setting. She will also continue to require medical care, from orthopedists, neurologists, pediatricians and internists, physiatrists, and will also continue to require speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to recognize the need for immediate delivery by caesarean section to avoid perinatal asphyxia or fetal distress when thick meconium was noted, failing to perform a caesarean section in the face of prolonged fetal bradycardia and recurrent decelerations, failing to timely diagnose a group B streptococcus infection, and in negligently delivering vaginally rather than by caesarean section so as to expose the fetus to further infection and to the rigors of the labor process. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $3,272,727.27.