Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury, Spastic Quadriplegia, Global Developmental Delays
Injuries: Hypoxic-Ischemic Brain Injury, Spastic Quadriplegia, Global Developmental Delays
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 10, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 37 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. She weighed 5 lbs 9 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 Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI). She was diagnosed with a vaginal infection, but was treated with a cream that cleared it up.
On the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital’s emergency room at around 8:00 a.m. complaining of severe labor pains. She was admitted and put into an observation room and examined. Hospital staff informed her that she was about 3 cm dilated.
An hour later, plaintiff mother was transferred to labor and delivery. She was put into a room and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. She was told that the fetus was having trouble breathing. The fetal heart rate monitor revealed non-reassuring variable and late decelerations associated with loss of beat-to-beat variability. A little while later, plaintiff mother recalls that a doctor artificially ruptured her membranes.
Plaintiff mother also recalls that ultimately, after hours of labor, infant plaintiff had to be “pulled out” by the doctor.
At 3:29 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. Hospital staff noted that placental abruption was present. Infant plaintiff’s Apgar scores were 6, 7 and 8 at 1, 5 and 10 minutes, respectively. Plaintiff mother recalls that the baby was blue, listless, and floppy, and that a lot of hospital staff were “working” on her once she was out. Eventually, infant plaintiff was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where a feeding tube was placed. Hospital staff informed plaintiff mother that the feeding tube was necessary because of infant plaintiff’s poor suck (which in turn was due to her being premature).
Two days after delivery, plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital; however, infant plaintiff remained in the NICU for a month while hospital staff ran tests.
When infant plaintiff was a month old, she was rushed to the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore to be seen by a specialist, as she had continued to experience problems breathing and swallowing. She remained at Montefiore for a week while hospital staff ran tests. Ultimately, she was diagnosed with acid reflux disease, and transferred back to defendant hospital. At one and a half months old, she was discharged from the hospital and taken home by plaintiff mother.
At three months old, infant plaintiff was rushed to the emergency room at another hospital because plaintiff mother had noticed her turning purple while eating. Again, hospital staff ran tests, and again, plaintiff mother was told that acid reflux disease was the source of infant plaintiff’s problems. Infant plaintiff was prescribed Prevacid and after a couple of weeks, discharged from the hospital.
Infant plaintiff continued to experience problems with eating in subsequent months. These problems ultimately resulted in recurrent aspiration pneumonias, which were finally successfully treated by the placement of a gastric tube at New York Hospital when infant plaintiff was one year old.
Currently, infant plaintiff sleeps in a crib and uses a wheelchair and a bath chair. She is fed through a feeding tube. She has a registered nurse who comes to her home from Visiting Nurses Services. She also has a home health aide.
Infant plaintiff suffers from severe global developmental delays and mental retardation. She cannot walk or speak. She is permanently disabled. She will never be able to live independently and will require supervision either at home or in a residential setting. She will never be employable.
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 by failing to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section in light of her non-reassuring fetal heart rate caused by acute placental abruption, and that this neglect resulted in severe and permanent injuries to the child. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $3,954,540.00.