Medical Malpractice, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Intraventricular Hemorrhage, Post Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus, Multiple Shunt Revisions, Spastic Quadriparesis, Seizure Disorder, Motor and Language Delay
Injuries: Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, Intraventricular Hemorrhage, Post Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus, Multiple Shunt Revisions, Spastic Quadriparesis, Seizure Disorder, Motor and Language Delay
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on January 29, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Montefiore Medical Center at 29 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. He weighed 3 lbs 7 oz.
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. However, as she had been diagnosed with sickle-cell disease, her pregnancy was considered a high-risk pregnancy.
On the day before delivery (January 28), plaintiff mother began experiencing chest pains. She was taken to defendant hospital, and put into an observation room with a fetal heart monitor placed on her stomach. Hours later, at around 7 p.m., she was taken out of the observation room and transferred to a room in the maternity ward; however, there was no fetal heart monitor placed on her stomach in this room. Plaintiff mother recalls being put on a morphine drip for the pain.
The next morning, on January 29, plaintiff mother began to experience breathing difficulty. A family member who was in the room left to look for a nurse. A couple of minutes later, a nurse came in to check on plaintiff mother. After examining her, she immediately called for a doctor. The doctor ordered that plaintiff mother be transferred back to an observation room.
Once plaintiff mother was put back into an observation room, a fetal heart monitor was again placed on her stomach. A nurse began to read the fetal heart monitor strip, and discovered that the baby was in fetal distress. She immediately left to fetch a doctor. Moments later, a doctor and other hospital staff rushed into the room, and the doctor told plaintiff mother that they would need to perform an emergency caesarian section. Eventually, infant plaintiff was born at 3:12 p.m. Plaintiff mother recalls that infant plaintiff’s Apgars were low, and that he was listless, floppy, and not breathing. Eventually, he was resuscitated and taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Infant plaintiff had numerous problems after birth, including a grade III intraventricular hemorrhage and seizures. He developed hydrocephalus, and required the insertion of an Omaya reservoir and then a permanent shunt.
Currently, infant plaintiff has neurological and neurodevelopmental disabilities. He does not speak, and does not walk. He has very limited motor development. He also has a seizure disorder. Plaintiff mother has been informed that all of these things were due to hypoxia, as the hypoxia directly led to his brain hemorrhage and posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. Hypoxic encephalopathy is the cause of all of infant plaintiff’s neurological and neurodevelopmental disabilities, which are permanent and will continue. They will prevent him from being educated in a conventional classroom, and will prevent him from ever being employed in the competitive job market. He will never be able to live independently, and will require lifelong supervision either at home or in a residential setting. He will also continue to require medical care from orthopedists, neurologists, pediatricians and internists, physiatrists, and will require speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to properly monitor infant plaintiff upon plaintiff mother’s admission to the hospital and failing to timely perform a caesarean section in light of evidence of fetal distress, and that these failures resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $5,000,000.00.