Injuries: Periventricular Leukomalacia, Cerebral Palsy
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on June 24, 2001 at Defendant Hospital Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 30 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. She weighed 3 lbs 2 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 eventually developed chorioamnionitis.
On June 13, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital’s emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. She was admitted, and put on bed rest. Hospital staff noted that she was about 2 cm dilated. Plaintiff mother also recalls being administered tocolytics.
About a week and a half later, on June 24, plaintiff mother’s water broke. Around this time, the fetal heart rate monitor revealed that there were persistent variable decelerations, and that the baby’s heart rate was nonreactive. Shortly thereafter, infant plaintiff was born via vaginal delivery. Her Apgar scores were 6 and 8 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Hospital staff noted that she had poor respiratory effort and poor muscle tone. Infant plaintiff was intubated in the delivery room and subsequently transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and hypercalcemia.
Two days later, a head ultrasound revealed no evidence of intracranial hemorrhage or hydrocephalus.
Eventually, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital as a healthy baby.
When infant plaintiff was fifteen months old, however, an MRI revealed periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) with a sylvian fissure arachnoid cyst.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Currently, she can walk, but requires a walker to do so. She can speak and feed herself, but requires assistance when dressing, bathing, and using the restroom.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to prevent premature delivery, and, once labor ensued, failing to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section in light of persistent variable decelerations and nonreactive fetal heart rate, both of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $3,500,000.00.