Wheelchair-Bound, Cerebral Palsy, Non-Verbal, Severe Developmental Delays, Mental Retardation, Seizure Disorder
Injuries: Wheelchair-Bound, Cerebral Palsy, Non-Verbal, Severe Developmental Delays, Mental Retardation, Seizure Disorder
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on July 16, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Maimonides Medical Center via vaginal delivery. He weighed 8 lbs 4 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 also tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day before delivery, plaintiff mother was at her last routine prenatal appointment, where she complained of vaginal discomfort and pelvic pain. She was examined, and told by a doctor to be 2 cm dilated. She was then sent to defendant hospital.
Plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital at around 3:00 p.m. She was put into a room and examined, and told by a midwife that she was 4 cm dilated. The midwife suggested that she walk around the hallway for a bit. At around 5:30 p.m., plaintiff mother returned to the room, and was again examined. A fetal heart monitor was placed on her stomach. Plaintiff mother recalls that by this time, she was experiencing severe labor pains.
At around 7:00 p.m., a midwife performed artificial rupture of membranes (AROM). A couple of hours later, plaintiff mother was given oxygen, and an epidural for the pain. However, she was told that she was still not dilating enough.
At around 10:30 p.m., a doctor came into the room and told plaintiff mother that the fetal heart rate monitor was having trouble picking up on the fetal heartbeat.
Hours later, two doctors came into the room and encouraged plaintiff mother to push, but the baby seemed to be stuck. Plaintiff mother was told that the baby’s head was visible. A doctor performed an episiotomy. Plaintiff mother recalls one of the doctors saying that there was “no time” for a caesarian section and that she would have to deliver vaginally. Finally, at around 2:15 a.m., one of the doctors used forceps to pull the baby out, and infant plaintiff was born. Plaintiff mother recalls that infant plaintiff was “dark purple” and did not cry. The baby, in need of assisted ventilation, was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where he was intubated and placed in an incubator. A nurse told plaintiff mother that infant plaintiff was in the NICU because he was “having trouble breathing.”
Two days later, plaintiff mother was discharged from the hospital; however, infant plaintiff remained in the NICU. All plaintiff mother was told was that infant plaintiff needed to stay a little longer because of his “lack of air at birth.”
When infant plaintiff was a week old, he was discharged from the hospital.
When infant plaintiff was about eight months old, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff appeared to have “no strength” to lift his head, but that he was “shaking” his head more and more frequently. Plaintiff mother took infant plaintiff to a neurologist at the Brooklyn Hospital Center emergency room. A number of tests were run, and infant plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with epilepsy. Plaintiff mother was told that it was likely caused by infant plaintiff’s lack of oxygen at birth.
Currently, infant plaintiff is wheelchair bound and suffers from cerebral palsy. He is non-verbal, semi-ambulatory and has been diagnosed with severe developmental delays, mental retardation, seizure disorder, poor balance, lack of safety awareness, complete functional dependence and bowel and bladder incontinence. He has significant neurological and neurodevelopment disabilities, which are permanent and will prevent him from ever being employed in the competitive job market. He will never be able to live independently and will require supervision either at home or in a residential setting.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely perform a caesarian section in light of evidence of fetal distress, and that this resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,500,000.00.