Mental Retardation, Behavioral Dysfunction, Developmental Delays, Expressive and Receptive Language Delays, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Injuries: Mental Retardation, Behavioral Dysfunction, Developmental Delays, Expressive and Receptive Language Delays, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on July 24, 2003 at Defendant Hospital Beth Israel Medical Center at 40 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. She weighed 6 lbs 12 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 called defendant OB/GYN and told her that she was experiencing labor pains that were scattering and irregular. Defendant OB/GYN told her to go to defendant hospital, and that she would meet her there.
Plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital at around 1 p.m. for induction of labor. She was put into an observation room and examined, and she was informed that as she was only about 2 cm dilated, she would continue to be monitored. Her temperature was taken, and it was 100.7 °F. Hospital staff suspected possible chorioamnionitis. By 5 p.m., she had not made much progress in labor. At around midnight, a fetal heart rate monitor began to reveal numerous variable decelerations in the baby’s heart rate.
Plaintiff mother’s labor continued for another six hours. At around 6:30 a.m., defendant OB/GYN decided that plaintiff mother needed a vacuum-assisted delivery because of maternal exhaustion. Eventually, infant plaintiff was born at 6:56 a.m. Her Apgar scores were 7 and 8 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Infant plaintiff was suctioned, bagged and masked in the delivery room, and shortly thereafter transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where she was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) secondary to meconium aspiration.
About fifteen minutes after arrival in the NICU, infant plaintiff was intubated. Eventually, infant plaintiff was also put on a feeding tube. However, after a few days, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.
About six months later, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff had reached the age where she should have been attempting to sit up on her own, but was not doing so. She took infant plaintiff to a pediatrician, who told her that infant plaintiff had poor muscle tone and strength in her neck, trunk, arms, legs, and feet with poor movement quality and gross motor delays.
By the age of four and a half, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, expressive and receptive language delays, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Currently, infant plaintiff cannot walk up or down stairs without assistance; nor can she dress herself. She can manage a spoon and a fork, but cannot cut food. She requires assistance in bathing, and is not toilet trained. She attends school in a special class. She receives speech language therapy twice a week, as well as private physical, occupational, and speech therapy once a week. She is dependent on others for her care and sustenance, and will remain so, as this is a permanent condition. She will not be employable in the competitive job market and will never be able to live alone.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in New York County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant OB/GYN and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to deliver a post-term baby via caesarian section when there was a demonstrated failure to progress and non-reassuring FHMS were indicated (repetitive decelerations consistent with head compression), and that these failures resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $600,000.00.