Iowa Family Awarded $5.5 Million in Birth Injury Lawsuit

Staff Writer | March 1st, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News, Recent Settlements

Birth Injury LawsuitIn January 2013, an Iowa family was awarded $5.5 million in their birth injury lawsuit. Their complaint involves a case of alleged medical malpractice that resulted in brachial plexus injury to a newborn girl. The child was born on February 1, 2007 and today, at five years old, still reports limited use of her damaged right arm. It is unknown whether the defendants, including the Great River Women’s Health Center, will contest the award.

Newborn suffers permanent brachial plexus injury

On February 1, 2007 a little girl was born in Burlington, Iowa. On what should have been a joyful day, her parents were instead informed that their newborn had suffered shoulder dystocia and possible brachial plexus injury during birth – an injury to their baby’s arm and shoulder that could prove permanent, following her throughout her life. Indeed, the young girl’s injury did prove severe and permanent: before she turned five, she had already undergone two corrective surgeries – procedures that had already cost the $74,000.

Even despite these surgeries, the child still has problems with her right shoulder and arm. A local newspaper, the Hawk Eye of Burlington, Iowa, reported that the child will likely never have full use of her arm. Additionally, she will probably require additional surgeries throughout her life.

Shoulder dystocia can result in serious injury

Shoulder dystocia most often occurs when an infant’s shoulder becomes lodged in the birth canal during a vaginal delivery. If the danger is not attended to immediately, it can permanently damage the brachial plexus nerves – the nerves that run up the hand, arm and shoulder and curve around to the spine. For this Iowa child, shoulder dystocia affected her right shoulder and the resulting damage was so severe that she was born without any function in her right arm. This condition causes pain and suffering, as well as the stress and frustration of a preventable disability. The little girl will also be subjected to costly surgeries throughout her life.

Birth injury lawsuit results in $5.5 million award

Brachial plexus injury often leads to a birth injury lawsuit because the primary cause of the injury – inappropriate, slow or otherwise insufficient medical response to shoulder dystocia – is a type of medical negligence and/or malpractice. In this case, the child’s parents filed a lawsuit to compensate for expensive surgeries, medical costs, and lifestyle changes resulting from their daughter’s injuries.

Two physicians and the Great River Women’s Health Center, located in West Burlington, Iowa, were named as defendants in the complaint. Reportedly, the defendants had refused a birth injury settlement before the case went to trial. After hearing the evidence, the jury saw fit to award the child and her parents a verdict of $5 million for loss of arm and shoulder function, as well as pain and suffering. An additional $500,000 was awarded to her parents for past and future loss of consortium.

If you  have given birth to a child with brachial plexus injury and you suspect birth injury malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation. When doctors and other health care professionals fail to provide a proper standard of care, and that failure results in injury, this constitutes grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. For a free case evaluation, call the experienced attorney team at Balkin & Eisbrouch for a free consultation.

Brachial Plexus Injuries, John Hopkins Medicine