F&F# A04015 / B04015
Spastic Quadriplegia, Severe Developmental Delays, Seizure Disorders, Gastroesophagal Reflux Disease, Visual Impairments
Injuries: Spastic Quadriplegia, Severe Developmental Delays, Seizure Disorders, Gastroesophagal Reflux Disease, Visual Impairments
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 21, 2002 at SUNY Downstate Medical Center (University Hospital of Brooklyn) via caesarian section. He weighed 8 lbs 10 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have high blood pressure, protein in her urine, or blood changes. She tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
On the day before delivery, plaintiff mother was at her last prenatal visit when she was informed that her baby was “big,” and that she should have a caesarian section. Hospital staff scheduled the caesarian section for the following day.
On the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to the hospital at approximately 8:30 a.m. Less than two hours later, at approximately 11:00 a.m., infant plaintiff was born. His Apgar scores were 8 and 8 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Shortly after birth, he began to show signs of respiratory distress, and was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A chest X-ray revealed left hemidiaphragmatic paralysis and severe congenital tracheobronchomalacia. Infant plaintiff was intubated and put on a conventional ventilator. Doctors suspected that infant plaintiff had a vascular ring (a rare cardiovascular birth defect involving an unusual formation of the aorta and / or surrounding blood vessels).
Concerned about infant plaintiff’s possible vascular ring, hospital staff transferred infant plaintiff to New York-Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center to undergo additional tests. Infant plaintiff was diagnosed with severe tracheoronchomalacia; however, test results did not show evidence of a vascular ring. Infant plaintiff was transferred back to SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
In March, infant plaintiff had a tracheostomy. Although infant plaintiff was still on a conventional ventilator, he continued to improve in the NICU, and was even able to hold up his head on his own.
Shortly after the surgery, however, an MRI of infant plaintiff’s brain was ordered. Although the procedure was risky (due to infant plaintiff’s underlying condition), defendant pediatric pulmonologist approved the MRI. During the effort to sedate infant plaintiff for the MRI – an effort that required multiple needle insertions – infant plaintiff became so agitated that he suffered severe cardiopulmonary arrest. The hospital called a “code” to summon the necessary medical personnel to respond to the emergency. The code lasted for over 30 minutes.
A neurologist examined infant plaintiff and told plaintiff mother and plaintiff father that because of the recent lack of oxygen supply to infant plaintiff’s brain, infant plaintiff was severely brain-damaged.
Currently, infant plaintiff suffers from spastic quadriplegia, severe developmental delays, seizure disorders, gastroesophagal reflux disease, and visual impairments. His injuries are permanent. He is wheelchair-bound, and wears leg braces, hard braces and a back brace and utilizes a feeding tube. He has a nurse that goes to his home for approximately 84 hours per week. He is on a ventilator, and when he leaves the home for doctor’s appointments, plaintiff mother has to make arrangements with the paramedics for transportation, and infant plaintiff is transported via stretcher.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in the New York State Court of Claims, arguing that defendant State of New York (SUNY Downstate Medical Center (University Hospital of Brooklyn)) and various doctors involved in the treatment rendered to infant plaintiff during his neonatal pediatric care departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff, and were negligent in repeatedly attempting to insert an IV line in infant plaintiff in light of infant plaintiff’s underlying condition (severe tracheoronchomalacia), which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant State of New York for a total of $4,863,636.00, and with defendant doctors for a total of $1,275,000.00.