Medical Malpractice, Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy
Injuries: Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on March 7, 2004 at Defendant Hospital Flushing Hospital Medical Center via vaginal delivery. The baby weighed 9 lbs 4 oz at birth.
Over the course of her pregnancy, plaintiff mother developed a urinary tract infections (UTIs) and was treated with Ampicillin. Other than this, however, her pregnancy was uneventful; she did not have high blood pressure, protein in her urine, or blood changes. She did not have pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes, and she tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS).
On the day of delivery at around 4 a.m., plaintiff mother began experiencing strong contractions. At around 5 a.m., she called defendant hospital to inform them that she was having contractions six minutes apart and was on her way to the hospital. Once she arrived, she was taken to labor and delivery and put in a room, where she had a fetal heart monitor placed on her stomach. Plaintiff mother recalls the nurses being preoccupied with trying to find her medical records, and not paying much attention to her. She also recalls being in a lot of pain.
At 7:45 a.m., plaintiff mother was about 10 cm dilated. She was taken to a delivery room and attached to an IV. She recalls telling the OB/GYN that was present (who was not her OB/GYN, as he had not yet arrived) that she felt like pushing; however, when she tried pushing the baby could not come out. Eventually, the baby’s head appeared; however, the shoulders were stuck for several minutes before the OB/GYN was able to deliver the baby.
Ultimately the baby was born vaginally at 8:03 a.m. He weighed 9 lbs 4 oz. His Apgar scores were 9 and 9 at one minute and five minutes, respectively. Plaintiff mother recalls the baby giving a weak cry and arching his back, and almost immediately after being whisked off by hospital staff to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit without any explanation whatsoever.
The next day, at around 8 a.m., plaintiff mother went to visit her baby in the NICU. She saw that the baby was attached to an IV. When she asked some of the hospital staff about it, she was told that they were just checking to see why the baby was having tremors. Plaintiff mother did not receive any further explanation about the baby’s condition.
The following day, the baby was still in the NICU. When plaintiff mother asked a doctor why, he reassured her that everything was fine and that there was nothing wrong with her baby.
Two days later, on March 11 at around 3 p.m., plaintiff mother was informed that she and her baby could go home. The baby was discharged as a healthy baby, and no explanation was given as to why he had spent days in the NICU. Plaintiff mother recalls that the baby continued to have tremors once they’d arrived back at home, and that he drank milk very slowly.
The next day, at around 4:30 p.m., plaintiff mother noticed the baby’s eyes were moving rapidly from left to right for about thirty seconds, and that he had stopped breathing. The baby then fainted, and plaintiff mother called 911. The baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he experienced another episode of rapidly moving his eyes from side to side. The baby was then intubated. Doctors asked plaintiff mother questions about his birth, such as where he was born. They then informed her that the baby had had a seizure and had been put on Phenobarbital.
A doctor also informed plaintiff mother that at the hospital of the baby’s birth (defendant hospital), hospital staff had performed a C-SCAN and an EEG test on the baby, which plaintiff mother before that moment had been unaware of. Plaintiff mother gave the doctor permission to perform a MRI on the baby, which revealed that the central vein in the baby’s brain was larger than normal. About a week later, the baby was transferred to the children’s hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and continued to be treated with Phenobarbital.
A week and a half later, another MRI was performed. It revealed extensive brain damage, and the baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Queens County Supreme Court and argued that defendant hospital and staff departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to appropriately respond and treat infant plaintiff during his difficult delivery, which resulted in his suffering hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, in wrongfully discharging infant plaintiff on March 11 in spite of his continuing tremors, and in failing to administer to infant plaintiff anti-seizure medication, all of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald ultimately settled with defendants for $5,318,181.82.