Spastic Triparesis, Post Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus, Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt, Seizure Disorder
Injuries: Spastic Triparesis, Post Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus, Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt, Seizure Disorder
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on April 21, 2006 at Defendant Hospital Winthrop-University Hospital at 29 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 1 lb 13 oz 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), although she did have a urinary tract infection (UTI) during her 6th week of pregnancy.
On April 17, plaintiff mother went to a prenatal visit at defendant hospital. Plaintiff mother recalls that during the ultrasound, the ultrasound technician saw something, and called for plaintiff’s doctor. Defendant doctor came into the room and examined plaintiff mother, and told her that there was a significant decrease in diastolic flow. Plaintiff mother was transferred to labor and delivery, and put into a room with a fetal heart rate placed on her stomach.
The next day, on April 18, plaintiff mother continued to be monitored by hospital staff. Plaintiff mother was told that the baby’s heart rate was dropping, and that if it continued to drop they would have to perform an emergency caesarian section. However, they wanted to keep the baby in the womb as long as possible (as plaintiff mother was only in her 28th week of pregnancy).
Over the next couple of days, the baby’s heart rate continued to drop; however, hospital staff continued to monitor plaintiff mother. On April 21, plaintiff mother was examined and told that now, the baby was not receiving adequate blood and oxygen, and that an emergency caesarian section was necessary. Shortly thereafter, at 11:13 a.m., infant plaintiff was born. His Apgar scores were 3 and 7 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Hospital staff rushed the baby away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Some time later, plaintiff mother was told that a head ultrasound had revealed grade III to IV intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in infant plaintiff’s brain. Infant plaintiff was also found to have hypospadias and patent ductus arteriosus in the heart. Not long after, plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital, but infant plaintiff remained in the NICU.
A couple of months after birth, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with hydrocephalus. On June 29, he had a shunt placed in the left side of his head. In August, he was placed on a feeding tube and had hernia repair on both sides of his groin.
Eventually, four months after birth, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.
Currently, infant plaintiff has significant neurological and neurodevelopmental disabilities. He has spastic triparesis, and his development is limited. He has post hemorrhagic hydrocephalus and has a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. He has a seizure disorder. His neurological injuries and disabilities are permanent, and he is cognitively impaired and functions in the mentally retarded range of intellectual abilities. He receives occupational, physical, and speech therapy in school twice per week for 30 minutes per session. His injuries and disabilities will prevent him from ever being employed in the competitive job market. He will not be able to live independently and will require supervision either at home or in a residential setting. He will continue to require medical care including orthopedists, neurologists, pediatricians, internists, physiatrists, as well as occupational, physical, and speech therapy.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant doctors and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to properly monitor plaintiff mother and infant plaintiff in light of reverse end-diastolic flow (as fetal compromise in such cases, when it happens, is usually very severe), and failing to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section in light of repeated variable decelerations. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,400,000.00.