Medical Malpractice, Child Birth Injury, Subacute / Chronic Infarction in Basil Ganglia, Cognitive Delays, Speech and Language Delays, Motor Difficulties
Injuries: Child Birth Injury, Subacute / Chronic Infarction in Basil Ganglia, Cognitive Delays, Speech and Language Delays, Motor Difficulties
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on August 10, 2005 at Defendant Hospital Phelps Memorial Hospital Center via vaginal delivery. He weighed 8 lbs 4 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 August 9, 2005, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital complaining of lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge. A sonogram was performed, and plaintiff mother was told that everything was fine, but that it was not yet time for her to deliver. She was told to come back to the hospital two days later, on August 11, if she had not gone into labor by then.
However, at around 8 p.m. that day, plaintiff mother’s lower abdominal pain became so severe that she returned to defendant hospital. She was told again that everything was fine, but that it was not yet time for her to deliver and that she should return home. Plaintiff mother did not leave, however, and remained in the hallway, as her abdominal pain was too severe for her to even walk.
Eventually, at around 10:30 p.m., plaintiff mother was put into an observation room and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. The fetal heart rate monitor revealed decreased fetal beat-to-beat variability, and eventually presence of late decelerations which became more frequent. Hospital staff continued to check on plaintiff mother periodically; however, she still hadn’t started dilating. The next day, at around 7:00 a.m., plaintiff mother had a vaginal check up, and while she was being examined her water broke. Less than two hours later, the baby was born via vaginal delivery. Plaintiff mother recalls that while no forceps were used, at one point the baby was crowning for a couple of minutes before the head came out. Plaintiff mother also recalls that once he was born, infant plaintiff was blue and did not cry. His Apgar scores were 4 and 8 at 1 and 5 minutes respectively. Eventually, the baby was taken to the regular nursery and placed in an incubator.
Later that afternoon, the baby was brought back to plaintiff mother and father so that they could hold him. However, while plaintiff father was holding the baby, he noticed that the baby was “shaking” his legs and body in a “strange way.” Plaintiff father relayed this to a nurse who was present, and the baby was rushed back to the regular nursery for observation and testing.
Two days later, on August 12, an MRI revealed bleeding in the baby’s brain. Hospital staff recommended to plaintiff mother and plaintiff father that the baby be transferred to another hospital. No explanation for the seizures or the brain bleed was given. Later that day, the baby was transferred to another hospital and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where more tests were run.
The next day, on August 13, a neurologist informed plaintiff mother and plaintiff father that another MRI revealed that a small part of the baby’s brain was dead, which was likely a result of the bleeding that had occurred previously in the baby’s brain. Plaintiff mother also recalls the neurologist telling them that it was likely that the baby was having seizures in the womb, and that this should have been detected during one of her prenatal visits at defendant hospital.
About a week later, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital. Plaintiff mother was informed that because part of the baby’s brain was dead, he would almost certainly suffer developmental delays and other problems, and that he would need to be monitored closely by specialists as time went on.
By the time he reached six years old, infant plaintiff had been diagnosed with right-sided hemiparesis and mild hypotonia. He has experienced difficulty using his right hand, and has been unable to perform tasks such as buttoning a jacket or zipping up a zipper. He has also experienced problems with his right heel, and cannot walk far distances without experiencing some pain.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in the Southern District United States District Court, arguing that defendant staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to exercise reasonable care in managing the labor and delivery of infant plaintiff, and that this failure caused severe and permanent neurological and physical injuries to infant plaintiff, including developmental delays, speech and language delays, motor difficulties, and weakness in his right hand and hip flexor muscle. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for a total of $500,000.00.