Brain Damage, Developmental Delays, Severe Cognitive Delays, Seizures, Loss of Hearing
Injuries: Brain Damage, Developmental Delays, Severe Cognitive Delays, Seizures, Loss of Hearing
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on April 2, 2007 at Defendant Hospital Kings County Hospital Center via vaginal delivery. He weighed 7 lbs 8 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had a relatively uneventful pregnancy. She did not experience high blood pressure, and did not have protein in her urine, or any blood changes. She did not have pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes; however, she tested positive for Group B streptococcus (GBS).
The day before delivery, Plaintiff mother was visiting family in Brooklyn when she began to experience light contractions and some bleeding. At around noon, she went to defendant hospital, where she waited in the waiting room for about an hour and a half. At around 2:30 p.m., her name was called, and she was put into an observation room with a fetal monitor placed on her stomach. Plaintiff mother recalls stating to a nurse who was attending to her that she had GBS.
At around 4 p.m., another nurse noticed that the baby’s fetal heart rate was dropping, and told plaintiff mother to remain resting on her right side. Plaintiff mother again told a doctor who came into the room that she had GBS, and that she needed to be treated for it before she could give birth. Plaintiff mother recalls the doctor telling her that she would be treated “in time.” At around 5 p.m., the doctor examined her and said that she was 3 centimeters dilated, and that they would continue to monitor her.
At around 6 p.m., plaintiff mother was put in a delivery room. Five hours later, she was given an epidural. Finally, at 1:02 a.m., the baby was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that she does not remember whether the baby was crying, as she had begun to hemorrhage. The baby was taken to the regular nursery, where his movements and appetite appeared to be normal.
Plaintiff mother recalls that a couple of days later, April 4, was the day that she and the baby were supposed to be discharged; however, a doctor informed her that the baby had jaundice and needed to be placed under a yellow light for 12 hours. Plaintiff mother recalls that the baby could not have been under the yellow light for a full 12 hours, as she had to breast feed him every couple of hours. At this time, the baby’s bilirubin levels measured about 13.
The next day, both plaintiff mother and the baby were discharged, although the baby’s bilirubin levels had decreased only to about 12.6. The baby was discharged as a healthy baby.
A couple of days later, on April 7, Plaintiff mother noticed that the baby appeared orange-ish in color and that his eyes were yellow. She took him back to defendant hospital, where a blood-work up revealed that the baby’s bilirubin levels had leaped to 26.6. Two hours later, another test revealed that they had climbed to 29.9. Finally, at around 8 p.m., the baby had an exchange transfusion. Ultimately, the baby spent an additional six days in the hospital.
Plaintiff mother notes that the baby has not seemed normal since this second discharge. At two months old, the baby could not follow her hand with his eyes. At five months, he was diagnosed with developmental delays. At seven months, the baby did not grab for anything and could not hold anything in his hands. He was unable to either sit or stand by himself. The baby was also diagnosed with two lazy eyes.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital and staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff by wrongfully discharging the baby when he had elevated bilirubin levels, and that this departure resulted in brain damage to the baby. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $4,000,000.00 dollars, including payment for pain and suffering, loss of wages, non-medical damages and future medical damages.