Cerebral Palsy, Non-Ambulatory, Hypertonic, Global Developmental Delays, Nonverbal

F&F# A07093 / B07093

Cerebral Palsy, Non-Ambulatory, Hypertonic, Global Developmental Delays, Nonverbal

Settlement: $8,188,000

Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Non-Ambulatory, Hypertonic, Global Developmental Delays, Nonverbal

Facts and Claim of Liability:

Infant plaintiff was born on September 27, 2006 at Defendant Hospital Sound Shore Medical Center at 39 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery. He weighed 7 ½ lbs 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 of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital at 7:00 a.m. complaining of moderate labor pains. She also informed hospital staff that her water had broken. She was put into an observation room, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. She was also hooked up to an IV. A couple of hours later, her labor pains became more severe. Plaintiff mother was examined and told that she was almost ready. Pitocin was administered at around 10:00 a.m.

A couple of hours later, at around 12:30 p.m., plaintiff mother recalls that she began experiencing severe labor pains and vaginal contractions. Fetal heart monitoring revealed fetal tachycardia, and a doctor informed plaintiff mother that the baby was in a breech position. Ultimately, the baby became stuck in the birth canal. The doctor encouraged plaintiff mother to keep pushing, while two nurses tried to turn the baby while he was still in the birth canal; however, they were unsuccessful. Eventually, at 2:12 p.m., the baby was born breech. His Apgar scores were 3, 5 and 5 at 1, 5, and 10 minutes, respectively.

Plaintiff mother recalls that immediately after he was born, the baby appeared to be blue, listless, and floppy. He also did not cry. He was quickly resuscitated and rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he was placed in an incubator.

At around 9:00 p.m., a doctor came into plaintiff mother’s room and told her that they needed to transfer infant plaintiff to Westchester Medical Center for more tests, as infant plaintiff had had a lack of oxygen during birth and they wanted to make sure that everything was alright. Plaintiff mother consented, and infant plaintiff was transferred to Westchester Medical Center via ambulance. At the time of transfer, his diagnoses were status post cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the delivery room, metabolic acidosis, hypothermia, suspected hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, suspected seizure, and suspected sepsis.

While at Westchester Medical Center, a CT scan revealed subarachnoid hemorrhage and small tentorial subdural hematoma, and an EEG performed was abnormal with multifocal potentially epileptiform disturbances, as well as diffuse background abnormalities consistent with diffuse cerebral dysfunction. An MRI of the brain revealed bilateral symmetrical posterior putamen to the thalamus T2 hyperintensities concerning for anoxia / hypoxia or metabolic abnormality. However, not long after, infant plaintiff was taken out of the NICU and transferred to the regular nursery. A day later, infant plaintiff was discharged from the hospital.

Currently, infant plaintiff has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and developmental delays. He has communication deficits and physical infirmities. He cannot walk alone, but can sit with support. He uses braces. In order to express himself, he needs time. Most people do not understand him except those that are around him constantly. He requires assistance with bathing, brushing his teeth, dressing, and feeding. He still wears diapers. He sees a pediatrician, audiologist, and dentist on an annual basis and a physiatrist, opthamologist and neurologist every six months. His condition is permanent. He will never be able to live independently, but will always either need to be with family with appropriate supervision or in a group home type of setting. He will not ever be employable given his condition.

Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Southern District United States District Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to properly identify infant plaintiff’s true position when plaintiff mother went into labor, and failing to timely perform a caesarian section, and that these failures resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $8,188,000.00, including payment for past pain and suffering, loss of wages, nonmedical damages, and future medical costs.