$4,900,000 – Spastic Quadriplegia, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Mental Retardation, Microcephalic and Frontal Hypotonia
Injuries: Spastic Quadriplegia, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Mental Retardation, Microcephalic and Frontal Hypotonia
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on December 31, 2003 at Forest Hills Hospital via vaginal delivery. He weighed 8 lbs 1 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). However, both plaintiff mother and plaintiff father were carriers of sickle cell trait.
When infant plaintiff was born, newborn screening was performed immediately. Tests revealed that he had sickle cell disease. Eventually, however, at two days old, infant plaintiff was discharged as a healthy infant from the hospital after completing a course of penicillin.
In December of 2008, when infant plaintiff was almost five years old, he started experiencing cold-like symptoms. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father decided to take him to the emergency room at Defendant Hospital Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Infant plaintiff was admitted, and a number of tests were run. Eventually, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Days later, on December 30, a nurse came into infant plaintiff’s room and injected Ceftriaxone into infant plaintiff’s IV line. Plaintiff father recalls that almost immediately after this was done, infant plaintiff began convulsing and bleeding from his nose and mouth. Ultimately, infant plaintiff had to be intubated and rushed to the Intensive Care Unit, where he was given a blood transfusion. He was kept under close observation by hospital staff, and eventually, hours later, appeared to be improving.
The next morning, another nurse came into plaintiff’s room and again injected Ceftriaxone into infant plaintiff’s IV line. For the second time, infant plaintiff almost immediately began convulsing and bleeding from his nose and mouth; however, this time he slipped into a coma. Infant plaintiff remained unresponsive and had to be hooked up to a feeding tube. He also received another blood transfusion. Plaintiff mother and plaintiff father recall complaining to a doctor and asking why their son was again given the same medication he had apparently had a reaction to the first time, and the doctor told them that he did not know what happened, and that they needed to run some tests to figure out what was wrong.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, mental retardation, and microcephalic and frontal hypotonia. He is wheelchair-bound and blind, and cognitively impaired. He also suffers from multiple organ injury, including lung and / or cardiac injury due to severe anemic reaction. He uses braces on his legs and uses a splint for his left arm. His injuries are permanent, and he is dependent on others for all activities of daily living. He will never be able to live independently, and will require lifelong supervision either at home or in a residential setting. He will continue to require medical care including orthopedists, neurologists, pediatricians and internists, physiatrists, as well as speech, occupational, and physical 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 timely diagnose and treat infant plaintiff for Ceftriaxone-induced hemolytic anemia; failing to timely and properly perform the necessary, indicated and warranted medical work-up of infant plaintiff to determine the cause of infant plaintiff’s condition; failing to timely and properly form a differential diagnosis as to the potential causes of infant plaintiff’s condition; failing to timely and properly include and / or consider Ceftriaxone-induced hemolytic anemia in the differential diagnosis; failing to timely discontinue administration of Ceftriaxone; and negligently continuing antibiotic therapy with Ceftriaxone without having ruled out Ceftriaxone as the cause of and / or contributing to infant plaintiff’s condition, all of which resulted in profound anemia and hypotension, as well as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and which left infant plaintiff catastrophically brain injured. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $4,900,000.00.