Medical Malpractice Cited in Illinois Birth Injury Lawsuit

Shay Morrigan | April 9th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Birth Injury Lawsuit An Illinois mom filed a birth injury lawsuit on October 22, 2012, against Komed Holman Health Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Lee P. Shulman, M.D., alleging medical negligence. Together with her medical malpractice attorneys, she brought her claims to the Circuit Court of Cook Country, Illinois.

On April 1, 2013, the case was removed to federal court in the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiff claims that the defendants failed to timely diagnose her gestational diabetes, and made other mistakes that caused serious injuries to her baby. She seeks in excess of $50,000.

Erb’s Palsy lawyer states facts of the case

According to the complaint, the plaintiff was under the care of physicians at Komed during her pregnancy, from June 26, 2009 through December 11, 2009. On October 19, 2009, she went through a test that determined her blood glucose level was 288 mg/dl.

As detailed in a medical opinion letter cited in the birth injury lawsuit, the plaintiff had a family history of gestational diabetes, and was also overweight. According to that letter “early testing for gestational diabetes should have been performed by the staff at Komed Holman Health Center. Glucose testing was not performed until 10/19/9, at approximately 23 weeks gestation.”

The correspondence further stated that the glucose level of 288 mg/dl was “sufficiently high” to have diagnosed the plaintiff with gestational diabetes or at least “a follow up three-hour glucose tolerance test would be indicated.”

Failure to diagnose cited in birth injury lawsuit

That follow up didn’t occur until December 11, 2009, however, at which time doctors found the plaintiff’s glucose levels to be markedly abnormal, with a fasting blood sugar level of 193, a 1-hour of 300, and 2-hour of 358.

The plaintiff states in her complaint that the defendants failed to do a timely work up for gestational diabetes, failed to diagnose the condition in a prompt manner, and therefore, failed to transfer her to a high-risk facility.

“Had the diagnosis been reached when the standard of care required it,” states the medical opinion letter, “the patient would have been immediately referred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where appropriate care of her diabetes could have been initiated.”

Medical malpractice attorneys claim negligence

Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes typically have an increased risk of “large baby syndrome,” or macrosemia, where the baby grows overly large because of the excess insulin crossing the placenta. The plaintiff claims that because she did not undergo proper treatment for her diabetes, the fetus grew excessively large.

When babies are overly large, doctors may recommend a cesarean section to reduce the risk of complications. The defendants in this case did not make such a recommendation. Instead, they proceeded with vaginal delivery, and during the long and difficult labor, the baby’s shoulder became lodged under the mother’s pubic bone—a condition called shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia is associated with an increased risk of Erb’s Palsy, a condition in which the nerves in the shoulder are damaged to the point of resulting paralysis in the arm and hand. In this case, the baby not only developed Erb’s Palsy because of the shoulder dystocia, but also suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)—a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. This resulted in catastrophic brain damage.

“Had the cesarean section been performed…,”notes the plaintiff’s complaint, “the attempts at vaginal delivery would not have occurred, the shoulder dystocia would not have resulted and the Erb’s Palsy injury would not have occurred. Furthermore, the 12 ½-minute delay between the head and the body as a result of the shoulder dystocia would also not have occurred, and the hypoxic ischemic encephalophathy would have been prevented. Ultimately, the catastrophic brain damage, as well as neurological damage to the child would have been avoided.”

If you suspect birth injury malpractice

If your child has suffered birth injuries due to medical mistakes or doctor error, you may be entitled to damages in a court of law. Call Balkin & Eisbrouch today for a complimentary case evaluation with an Erb’s Palsy lawyer to determine your best options for pursuing legal recourse.