$2,500,000 – Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Seizures, Periventricular Leukemia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays, Asthma

F&F# A04152

Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Seizures, Periventricular Leukemia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays, Asthma

Settlement: $2,500,000

Injuries: Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, Cerebral Palsy, Seizures, Periventricular Leukemia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays, Asthma

Facts and Claim of Liability:  

Infant plaintiff was born on February 3, 2000 at Defendant Hospital New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center at 28 weeks gestation via emergency caesarian section. She weighed 1 lb 9 oz at birth.

Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had a relatively uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She tested negative for Group B streptococcus (GBS) and urinary tract infection (UTI); however, during the 28th week of pregnancy, she was diagnosed with preeclampsia.

Two days before delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital and was noted to have high blood pressure and protein in her urine; however, she was shortly thereafter discharged.

On the day of delivery, plaintiff mother presented to defendant hospital at approximately 1:45 p.m. She was put into a room for observation, and a fetal heart rate monitor was placed on her stomach. Hospital staff noted that plaintiff mother was preeclamptic, and had high blood pressure as well as protein in her urine. Additionally, hospital staff noted severe variable decelerations in fetal heart rate, which persisted for the next five to six hours. During this time plaintiff mother was told that hospital staff were concerned about the baby’s heart rate, and that the baby might be in distress.

Hours later, plaintiff mother was told that an emergency caesarian section was going to be necessary, because her blood pressure continued to rise and the baby’s heart rate continued to drop. She was also told that they were also concerned because she was preeclamptic, and could soon become eclamptic. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff mother was prepped and sent to the operating room, and at 9:24 p.m., infant plaintiff was born. Her Apgar scores were 7 and 7 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. However, infant plaintiff exhibited signs of grunting and retractions, so hospital staff administered “blow-by” oxygen as she was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where infant plaintiff continued to experience difficulty breathing. Ultimately, hospital staff had to intubate infant plaintiff and administer Surfactant; however, her condition continued to deteriorate over the next couple of weeks.

Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, periventricular leukemia, autism spectrum disorder, seizures, developmental delays and asthma.

Currently, infant plaintiff uses braces and special shoes to accommodate the braces. She has some self-abuse in the form of biting and slapping herself in the face. Due to her seizure disorder, she sees a neurologist. She also sees a pediatrician and the dentist once a year, and sees an eye doctor on a more infrequent basis. She currently attends a school for special children. She is not in a specific grade. She receives speech, occupational, and physical therapy in school, one-on-one, three times per week.

Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Bronx County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant doctor 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 plaintiff mother’s preeclampsia diagnosis and persistent severe variable decelerations in infant plaintiff’s heart rate, and that this resulted in infant plaintiff sustaining severe and permanent injuries. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendants for a total of $2,500,000.00.

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