Injuries: Broken Right Clavicle, Erb’s Palsy
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on April 1, 2005 at Defendant Hospital Lutheran Medical Center via vaginal delivery. She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz lbs 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).
On March 31, 2005, plaintiff mother went to an appointment at defendant hospital because she was past her due date. Plaintiff mother was examined, and told that the fetal heart rate was accelerated, and that she needed to be admitted for delivery. She was sent to labor and delivery, although she was only about 1 ½ cm dilated and she was not experiencing any contractions. A fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach, and hospital staff continued to monitor her throughout the evening.
At around 7:00 p.m., artificial rupture of membranes (AROM) was performed. Plaintiff mother soon began to experience strong contractions.
By 9:00 p.m., plaintiff mother was administered an epidural for the pain.
At midnight, plaintiff mother was encouraged to begin pushing and breathing at each contraction.
At around 1:00 a.m., plaintiff mother recalls that a female doctor began to apply suprapubic pressure, but the baby still was not coming out. One of the hospital staff performed an episiotomy.
Finally, at 1:26 a.m., infant plaintiff was born. After she was dried and suctioned, she began to cry. Plaintiff mother recalls that although infant plaintiff was taken away shortly thereafter, she noticed that the baby’s right arm seemed to be injured.
A half hour later, a doctor came into the room and told plaintiff mother that the baby’s right clavicle was broken.
Two days later, plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital along with infant plaintiff, who was discharged from the hospital as a healthy baby. However, plaintiff mother was told to follow up with a neurologist. Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy.
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 negligently applying fundal pressure and excessive traction, which resulted in serious and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $395,000.00.