Injuries: Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Quadriplegia, Dysarthria, Myopia, Astigmatism, Wheelchair Bound
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on November 21, 1999 at Defendant Hospital St. John’s Riverside Hospital at 41 weeks gestation via vaginal delivery.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She also tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI).
In November, plaintiff mother went to a routine prenatal care appointment. She was told that she needed to go to defendant hospital, as she was already in her 40th week of pregnancy and was showing no signs of going into labor anytime soon.
On November 20 at around 10:00 a.m., plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital. She was put into a room, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. A sonogram was also performed. Plaintiff mother was told that she had too little amniotic fluid, and that labor would need to be induced. She was told to return later that afternoon.
That same day, at around 1:00 p.m., plaintiff mother returned to defendant hospital. She was put into a room and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. She was told that she was still showing no signs of going into labor.
At around 3:30 p.m., plaintiff mother recalls hospital staff applying some sort of vaginal cream. Hospital staff told her that this would start her labor. However, it was not until hours later, at around midnight, that plaintiff mother began experiencing labor pains.
On November 21 at around 8:15 a.m., infant plaintiff was finally born. Plaintiff mother recalls that he did not move at all, and did not respond to any of hospital staff’s provocations. Almost immediately after being born, infant plaintiff was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Plaintiff mother was told nothing about her baby’s condition save that she and the father “should pray a lot” because the baby was “very sick.”
Eventually, infant plaintiff improved, and two weeks after being born, he was released from the hospital.
However, as time went by, plaintiff mother noticed that infant plaintiff could not hold his head up. He also made no attempts to roll over, sit up, or crawl. Plaintiff mother took him to a neurologist, who told her that early intervention services were necessary.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, dysarthria, myopia, and astigmatism. Currently, he is wheelchair bound. His fine and gross motor skills are severely impaired. He is unable to communicate effectively due to his cerebral palsy. He is completely dependent on others for all activities of daily living. His deficits are permanent, and he will require custodial care for the rest of his life.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Westchester County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital staff and defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in failing to timely deliver infant plaintiff via caesarian section in light of nonreassuring fetal heart rate, and failing to have a pediatrician present for resuscitation purposes, both of which resulted in severe and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $3,000,000.00.