Mental Retardation, Spastic Diplegia, Microcephalic Hypotonia, Frontal Hypotonia, Non-Verbal, Non-Ambulatory
Injuries: Mental Retardation, Spastic Diplegia, Microcephalic Hypotonia, Frontal Hypotonia, Non-Verbal, Non-Ambulatory
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on October 23, 2002 at Defendant Hospital Lincoln Medical Center at 31 weeks gestation via emergency 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 tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital’s emergency room at around 4:00 p.m. complaining of severe labor pains and vaginal contractions. Plaintiff mother was brought upstairs to a waiting room, where she remained until about 8:00 p.m. Plaintiff mother told a nurse that she was having contractions every 2 – 3 minutes; however, the nurse told plaintiff mother that nothing could be done because there were no beds available.
By 9:00 p.m., plaintiff mother was in severe pain. A nurse performed an ultrasound, and informed plaintiff mother that infant plaintiff was in a breech position. The nurse called for a doctor, and shortly thereafter a doctor came in and examined plaintiff mother. He told her that she was 6 cm dilated, and that an emergency caesarian section might be necessary. The fetal heart rate monitor revealed severe bradycardia.
At 9:35 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. However, he did not breathe for the first 5 – 10 minutes of his life. His Apgar scores were 0 and 2 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. He was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where, a couple of days later, he began to have seizures. Infant plaintiff also soon required a blood transfusion.
Plaintiff mother recalls being told that there was a small cyst on the left side of the baby’s brain, but that there was nothing to worry about. Plaintiff mother was also told that he had bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and that he was unable to swallow, so he would need to be put on a feeding tube for awhile.
Eventually, in January, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from mental retardation, spastic diplegia, microcephalic and frontal hypotonia. He is non-verbal and non-ambulatory. He is fed through a GI tube. He is dependent on others for all activities of daily living, and will never be able to live independently. His deficits are permanent.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant doctor and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to treat plaintiff mother as a high-risk patient and admit her when her contractions were 2 to three minutes apart, and failing to perform a timely caesarian section in light of severe bradycardia. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $3,829,427.00.