Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, Seizure Disorder
Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, Seizure Disorder
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 17, 2003 at Defendant Hospital New York-Presbyterian / Allen Hospital at 41 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. She weighed 9 lbs 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 December 11, 2002, plaintiff mother, whose due date had already passed, was still not experiencing any labor pains or contractions. Worried, she went to defendant hospital’s emergency room and informed hospital staff of her situation. Plaintiff mother was admitted, examined, and told that she should return home because, according to a doctor, “everything was fine,” but she was not yet ready.
About four days later, on December 15, plaintiff mother went back to defendant hospital’s emergency room. A sonogram was done, and plaintiff mother was again told that she should return home, as there were no labor pains or contractions. Plaintiff mother stated that she was experiencing numbness in her legs, but hospital staff assured her that this was “just nerves” regarding her upcoming delivery. Plaintiff mother was sent home, and told to return on December 17 to have her labor induced.
On December 17 at around 8:00 p.m., plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital. She was transferred to labor and delivery, where she was examined and given Pitocin for induction of labor. She also had a fetal heart rate monitor placed on her stomach. Plaintiff mother recalls one doctor looking “worried” as he looked at the fetal heart rate monitor. Plaintiff mother was transferred to another room, and a number of hospital staff rushed in. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff mother was given an oxygen mask and transferred to another room for an emergency caesarian section, which was now necessary in light of the baby’s heart rate rapidly dropping.
At around 9:00 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. Plaintiff mother, who had been given a general anesthetic, was not awake to see the baby that night. The next morning, a doctor came into plaintiff mother’s room and told her that when infant plaintiff was born, she had been clinically dead for about 20 minutes, as there had been an umbilical cord wrapped around her neck a number of times. Hospital staff had been able to resuscitate her, but not before infant plaintiff suffered massive brain damage. Infant plaintiff had been transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where an MRI had revealed multiple infarcts in the frontal area of infant plaintiff’s brain.
Plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital on December 20. Infant plaintiff remained in the NICU, where her condition worsened. She began to have seizures , and developed breathing problems. She was intubated, and ultimately hooked up to a feeding tube. Infant plaintiff remained this way in the hospital for weeks.
At the end of January, infant plaintiff had improved enough to be taken off the ventilator and go home with plaintiff mother.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and feeding difficulties. Plaintiff mother has to dress her, feed her, and bathe her. Infant plaintiff has difficulties breathing, and has very limited understanding of what goes on around her. She also has a lot of stomach problems, and sees a gastroenterologist. She is also seen by a neurologist. She experiences seizures every six months, and takes Phenobarbital and Tripleptal twice per day for her seizures. She takes Nexxium twice per day to control her acid reflux. Her neurological injuries and disabilities will prevent her from ever being educated in a conventional classroom, as well as prevent her from being employed. She will not be able to live independently, and will require lifelong supervision.
Fitgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely perform a caesarian section, which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,250,000.00.