Medical Malpractice, Brain Damage, Spastic Quadriparesis, Seizure Disorder, Nonverbal, Microcephaly
Injuries: Medical Malpractice, Brain Damage, Spastic Quadriparesis, Seizure Disorder, Nonverbal, Microcephaly
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on June 9, 2007 at Defendant Hospital Montefiore Medical Center via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz at birth.
Before giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy – no high blood pressure, protein in her urine, or blood changes. She did not have pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes, and tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection.
Two days before delivery, plaintiff mother had an appointment for a stress test. While there, she was examined and told that she had oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid). She was referred to defendant hospital to have her labor induced.
Once plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital, she was put into an observation room with a fetal heart monitor placed on her stomach.
A couple of hours later, at around 1 p.m., plaintiff mother’s water broke. A doctor informed mother that the water had meconium in it.
At around 4 p.m., plaintiff mother was told that that the baby’s oxygen level was “low,” and that they would need to give plaintiff mother oxygen. Hospital staff continued to monitor her throughout the evening.
At 11 p.m., plaintiff mother began experiencing strong contractions, and was given an epidural. About thirty minutes later, a doctor urged plaintiff mother to start pushing. She complied, but the baby’s head started to crown. Finally, at around 1:45 a.m., she was told that an emergency caesarian section was necessary because the labor had stalled. However, upon caesarean delivery, the baby’s head lodged in the mother’s pelvis, and an assistant had to forcefully pull the baby by his head in order to get him out.
Fifteen minutes later, infant plaintiff was born via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz. His Apgars were 7 and 9. He was not breathing immediately after birth, and had to be bagged and masked in the delivery room. He also had a poor suck. However, shortly thereafter he was taken to the regular nursery.
At around 9:30 a.m., infant plaintiff was brought back to plaintiff mother to hold. However, after about five minutes, a nurse took infant plaintiff away; plaintiff mother recalls her saying something about the baby needing to be “re-weighed.” The nurse never returned.
About an hour later, at 10:45 a.m., a neonatal doctor informed plaintiff mother that the baby had been having seizures. They did a C-scan, which revealed that the baby had had a stroke. The doctor told plaintiff mother that they would continue to monitor the baby in the NICU.
Days later, on June 14, the baby was transferred from the NICU to the Pediatric Critical Care Unit in the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where a number of tests were run. Ultimately, it was concluded that the stroke was a result of a hypoxic-ischemic event.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from microcephaly and spastic quadriparesis. He also suffers from brain damage, developmental and nonverbal delays and mild chronic seizures. He cannot walk and uses a feeding tube. He also uses a wheelchair, bath chair and specialized stroller. He sees his pediatrician every two months; his neurologist every three months; his gastroenterologist every three months; his neuro-surgeon annually; his orthopedist annually; and his ENT on an annual basis. He will never be commercially employable and will not be able to live independently.
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 do a differential diagnosis when plaintiff mother was noted to be past her due date and the baby’s head had not engaged prior to going into labor, failing to timely perform a caesarean section, failing to admit the child to the NICU and monitor closely, failing to give oxygen therapy, and failing to keep infant plaintiff in a stable condition. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $4,800,000.00.