BIRTH INJURY Medical Malpractice Lawsuit: Excessive Traction Results in Permanent Brachial Plexus Injury.
The mother had all of her pre-natal appointments with the Defendant doctor. Her prenatal care was complicated by obesity and excessive weight gain. At the time the mother went into labor she was 39 4/78 weeks’ gestation and had gained 81 pounds during the pregnancy. The only estimated fetal weight before delivery was performed by ultrasound at 26 weeks with an EFW of 3700 grams.
On admission the baby had an estimated fetal weight of 3800. The records indicate that Pediatrics was called to the room for decelerations and that the patient had severe preeclampsia that was being treated with magnesium. The patient was noted to have inadequate contractions and she was being administered Pitocin.
The delivery record indicates that the baby was delivered in the occiput anterior position and that shoulder dystocia was recognized. The medical records note that several attempts were made to deliver the infant. Prior to the recognition of shoulder dystocia, the delivering doctor applied traction after retraction of head. Following the recognition of shoulder dystocia and the placement into McRoberts, and application of suprapubic pressure the doctor noted no movement with downward traction. Thereafter, the record notes that the doctor attempted the Gaskins maneuver and again used downward traction in her attempt to deliver the infant. Eventually the doctor delivered the posterior arm, relieved the shoulder dystocia and delivered the baby. The records indicate that there was a shoulder dystocia for 3 minutes. The baby’s Apgar scores were 3 and 9. At delivery it was noted that the newborn had a left brachial plexus injury.
In her deposition the doctor agreed that at the time of the delivery she was aware that the application of excessive traction on the baby’s head and neck in the presence of shoulder dystocia should be avoided as it can cause a permanent brachial plexus injury. When asked at her deposition, the doctor said she not know what caused the baby’s permanent brachial plexus injury.
The baby’s father was present at delivery and witnessed the birth. At his deposition, he described the baby’s head being out and the doctor pulling on the head and neck. The father also recalled his mother in law being in the room and at one point yelling out for the doctor not to break the baby’s neck.
The Plaintiffs’ alleged that the doctor fell below the standard of care in the manner in which she managed the shoulder dystocia diagnosed during the birth. In particular that the doctor applied excessive lateral traction/bending to the baby’s head and neck in the presence of shoulder dystocia. Further, that the medical negligence of the doctor resulted in the baby suffering a permanent brachial plexus injury. Surgical reports reveal a finding of neuroma identified proximal to C5-C6 nerve roots, large neuroma with rupture of the proximal portion of spinal roots and the upper trunk, middle trunk and lower trunks.
The Plaintiffs’ noticed several medical and other expert witnesses including doctors from the Harvard Medical School and the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
The child suffered a severe and permanent brachial plexus injury. She has had a tendon
transfer surgery as well as a brachial plexus exploration and nerve grafting procedure. Despite the surgery she is left with permanent physical limitations and deficits. The affected arm is weaker and smaller. She has difficulty with rotation and pronation. She has issues with internal and external rotation. The child suffered a global brachial plexus injury involving all nerves of the brachial plexus, C-5-C-8 and T-1. The injury to T-1 affects her fine motion function.
The case was settled prior to trial for the amount of One Million Five Hundred Thousand ($1,500,000.000) Dollars prior to trial.