Medical Malpractice, Brain Damage, Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Diffuse Cerebral Dysfunction, Seizure Disorder, Motor Delays, Language Delays, Behavioral Problems
Injuries: Brain Damage, Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Diffuse Cerebral Dysfunction, Seizure Disorder, Motor Delays, Language Delays, Behavioral Problems
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on January 24, 2006 at Defendant Hospital Sound Shore Medical Center at 35 and a half weeks gestation via caesarian section. He weighed 6 lbs 1 oz at birth.
On January 24, 2006 at around 12:30 p.m., plaintiff mother had an appointment for a stress test at defendant hospital. Plaintiff mother recalls a doctor asking her if she had been experiencing any headaches. Plaintiff mother said yes, and the doctor told her that headaches, water retention, and high blood pressure (all of which plaintiff mother had) were signs of preeclampsia, and that it would be best if they could deliver the baby as soon as possible via caesarian section. Plaintiff mother agreed, and she was sent to labor and delivery. Hospital staff continued to monitor plaintiff mother and noted that variable decelerations were present from the time plaintiff mother was admitted to the delivery room. Eventually, infant plaintiff was born at 8:42 p.m. via caesarian section. Although the baby cried once he was born, plaintiff mother and plaintiff father recalled that he seemed to be having some respiratory problems and that his head appeared to be “cone shaped.”
Plaintiff mother ultimately spent four days in defendant hospital, while the baby spent six. When plaintiff mother asked why defendant hospital wanted to keep the baby so long for observation, she was told that it was merely for the baby’s jaundice. Ultimately, the baby was discharged as a healthy baby.
When infant plaintiff was about two months old, plaintiff mother noticed him making “strange” eye movements. She told the baby’s pediatrician about it; however, he told her not to worry.
In August of 2006, when the baby was about seven months old, plaintiff mother noticed his eyes rolling back in his head, his arms lifting above his head, and his body moving forward and freezing for about three or four seconds. Plaintiff mother took him to Montefiore Medical Center, where she eventually found the baby’s pediatrician. The pediatrician examined the baby and decided that he needed to be admitted. Eventually, the baby was diagnosed with infantine spasms (a special form of epilepsy which occurs during infancy), and put on steroids. The baby remained in the hospital for three and a half weeks before he was discharged.
Currently, at six and a half years old, infant plaintiff is legally blind. He has difficulty walking, as he is unbalanced, and frequently trips over his feet. He uses leg braces and equipment. He cannot feed himself, and is not potty trained. He cannot pull up his pants or dress himself. He is currently enrolled in occupational, physical, and speech therapy. He is entirely dependent on others for his care and maintenance, and will never be employable, as his deficits are permanent and require that he be cared for for the rest of his life, either by his family or by professionals in a group home type of setting.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to examine plaintiff mother to determine the cause of the variable decelerations, which resulted in a failure to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section, which significantly increased the duration and degree of hypoxic-ischemic fetal brain insult and injury that would have been significantly reduced or eliminated by timely delivery. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,320,000.00, including payment for past pain and suffering, loss of wages, non medical damages, and future medical costs.