Attorneys Carol Nelson Shepherd and Patricia M. Giordano represented a pregnant woman who received all of her prenatal care at an academic medical center in Manhattan. Shepherd and Giordano contended that because of maternal hypertension, the infant was at increased risk of poor perfusion through the placenta and problems that can occur as a consequence. Although one ultrasound was done at 22 weeks, showing the fetus to be within the normal range for size, it was not repeated until 34 weeks gestation, nor were any non-stress tests or biophysical profiles performed in the interim in order to assess fetal well-being. At the 34 week ultrasound, it was discovered that the infant was extremely small for dates, and that there was decreased amniotic fluid, both classic signs of an infant who was not tolerating the maternal hypertension well, and was suffering the effects of decreased placental perfusion. Non-stress testing at that time was non-reassuring and led to the performance of an emergency cesarean section. However, as a consequence of the decreased flow of oxygen to the baby, he suffers from cerebral palsy, cognitive delays and severe speech delays.
The case was settled* at mediation following the completion of all factual discovery, but well prior to trial.
*Attorneys Shepherd and Giordano handled this case on a pro hac vice basis, which is when lawyers not licensed in a particular state associate with a lawyer who is licensed in that state and obtain the court’s permission to jointly represent a client in a specific matter.