On September 4, 1998, a pregnant woman was admitted to St Charles Hospital with complaints of severe, headaches swollen legs, fatigue and decreased fetal movement. She was promptly transferred to the University Medical Center at Stony Brook, in Stony Brook, New York. She was a lupus patient and had a history of preeclampsia with a prior pregnancy. The doctors at the University Medical Center at Stony Brook, were concerned because she was only at 24 weeks gestation. They administered some steroids in the hope that they could encourage better lung development in the infant in the event that the infant would have to be delivered prematurely.
In 1998, the administration of steroids to encourage lung development was a standard practice. A New York Injury Lawyer said the steroids were delivered in two doses normally. The first dose would be delivered and then the doctors would wait 12 hours before delivering the second dose. Following the second dose, another 12 hours would go by before they would deliver the infant. In the case of this particular woman, the infant was showing signs of fetal distress and lowered heart rate. The doctors made several attempts to determine the exact cause of the issues that the woman and child were suffering before taking any action. The doctor waited one hour in particular so that the father of the child could arrive at the hospital. At this point, the lives of both the mother and the severely premature infant were at risk. Nine hours after arriving at the University Medical Center at Stony Brook, the child was delivered by caesarian section. The infant showed relatively good Apgar scores at the time of delivery. However, within the first few years of birth, he suffered from obvious signs of fetal hypoxia and other issues related to the delay in his delivery.
The hospital maintained that the child was so severely premature, that any issues that he developed were tempered by the fact that they are obvious expectations of a premature infant. They state that the parents were advised that these were possible risks to early delivery at the time that the delivery was done. A Staten Island Personal Injury Lawyer said they also advise that any delays were necessary and within proper treatment guidelines based on the situation. They stated that the fact that the woman suffered from other medical conditions had at first blurred the fact that she was preeclampsic a second time. They contend that most of the delay was an attempt to give the infant as much of the benefit of the steroid as possible, to allow a neonatal specialist to be called in, and to ensure that a team of neonatal intensive care specialists were standing by to help the infant when he was born.