Medical Malpractice, Positional Club-Feet, Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Ventilator Dependence, Tracheomalacia, Tracheitis, Hypertension
Injuries: Positional Club-Feet, Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Ventilator Dependence, Tracheomalacia, Tracheitis, Hypertension
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on January 14, 2008 at Defendant Hospital Albert Einstein Hospital at 33 weeks gestation via caesarian section. She weighed 5 lbs 4 oz at birth.
Over the course of her pregnancy, plaintiff mother developed high blood pressure and was eventually diagnosed with gestational diabetes; however, she tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
Two days before delivery, on January 12 at around 8:35 a.m., plaintiff mother’s water broke, and she began experiencing vaginal bleeding. She called an ambulance, and was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. She was examined in the emergency room, and was noted as being 2 cm dilated, although she was not experiencing any contractions. A fetal heart monitor was placed on her stomach; however, everything appeared normal. Eventually, at around 1 p.m., she was transferred to defendant hospital.
At defendant hospital, she was admitted and sent to labor and delivery. She was given corticosteroids and Dexamethasone to accelerate the maturation of the baby’s lungs. She continued to be monitored by hospital staff.
Two days later, on January 14 at around 5 p.m., the fetal heart monitor revealed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping. A doctor informed plaintiff mother that because of this, delivery via caesarian section was necessary. Less than an hour later, at 5:55 p.m., the baby was delivered. Plaintiff mother recalls that the baby did not cry, that her heart rate was less than 100 beats per minute, and that her muscle tone and color were poor. Her Apgar scores were 1, 3 and 6 at 1, 5, and 10 minutes respectively. The baby was bagged and masked; however, her heart rate continued to drop. Once it reached less than 60 beats per minute, hospital staff had to perform CPR. Eventually, the baby was resuscitated and intubated, and transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The next day, plaintiff mother went to see infant plaintiff in the NICU. She saw that the baby had been put on a ventilator to assist with her breathing. She also noticed that the baby was being fed via a feeding tube. She was told that the baby’s muscle tone was still poor, and that the baby would need to remain in the NICU for awhile before being discharged. Ultimately, the baby was diagnosed with hypotonia, positional club-feet, hypoxic-ischemic injury, gastroesophagal reflux, ventilator dependence, tracheostomy, tracheomalacia, g-tube placement, osteopenia of prematurity, tracheitis, and hypertension. After over two months in the NICU, infant plaintiff was eventually discharged and transferred to a long-term care facility.
By the time infant plaintiff reached three and a half years old, she could walk, although not without some difficulty. She also continued to experience problems with her hips. Both her tracheotomy and feeding tube remained in place, and she continued to receive occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Although she had begun to attend school, she required a special educator while there. She also required individuals from a nursing service to attend school with her.
Fitzgerald & 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 perform a timely caesarian section secondary to a non-reassuring fetal heart-rate, which caused hypoxic-ischemic injury and ultimately resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,500,000.00, including payment for pain and suffering, loss of wages, non-medical damages, and future medicals.