Parents Seek $2 Million in Birth Injury Lawsuit for Child’s Erb’s Palsy

Shay Morrigan | April 2nd, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News, Recent Settlements

Erb's Palsy LawyerParents from the British Virgin Islands filed a new birth injury lawsuit on February 12, 2013. The case is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

The plaintiffs bring counts against medical personnel and the Pavia Medical Hospital for injuries suffered by their young child. They seek in excess of $2 million in damages.

Erb’s Palsy lawyer notes facts of the case

According to the complaint, drawn up by the plaintiffs’ Erb’s Palsy lawyer, the mother was 26 weeks pregnant when her obstetrician referred her to a doctor at Pavia Hospital in Puerto Rico for completion of her prenatal care and delivery. The mother’s pregnancy was reportedly already complicated by gestational diabetes and excessive weight.

On October 22, 2010, the plaintiff visited her new doctor and was advised to adhere more closely to her diabetic diet. Tests were ordered to verify her due date of January 27, 2011. She was advised to return to the doctor on December 17, 2010.

The plaintiff returned in December and was found to have elevated blood sugar levels. The doctor explained that the baby was growing overly large because of the mother’s gestational diabetes. Indeed, gestational diabetes creates a high risk of large baby syndrome, or macrosemia, because the extra glucose in the bloodstream crosses the placenta, and triggers the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin. This can lead to excess growth.

Plaintiff claims doctor negligence in birth injury lawsuit

A baby that grows too large becomes more at risk for shoulder dystocia—a condition in which the baby’s shoulder becomes lodged under the mother’s pubic bone during vaginal delivery. Shoulder dystocia can increase the risk of birth injuries like Erb’s palsy.

Doctors and hospitals are responsible for understanding the risks that gestational diabetes and macrosemia present. In many cases, a cesarean section is recommended to reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia and the accompanying complications.

On January 18, 2011, the plaintiff returned to the doctor, who ordered a sonogram to assess the baby’s size. She was told to report to the delivery area at the hospital the next day for an induction of labor. At this appointment, however, the doctor did not recommend a cesarean section, and failed to explain that a vaginal delivery may increase risk of complications.

According to court documents, the doctor told her he did not expect any difficulties with the delivery because the plaintiff had given birth to two babies vaginally before with no problems.

Baby displays Erb’s Palsy symptoms

On January 19, 2011, the plaintiff was admitted to the labor delivery suite at the hospital and was prepared for delivery. Her labor was induced, and the baby ended up with shoulder dystocia. The head was delivered, but the shoulder could not make it past the pubic bones.

The plaintiff notes in the complaint that there was no pediatrician at the hospital, and no one responded when help was requested. The doctor did not give the plaintiff the indicated drugs to relax the pelvic muscles, and did not order any other maneuvers to facilitate delivery, but instead pulled the baby out with force.

The newborn was delivered with shoulder damage and displayed Erb’s Palsy symptoms. The child was later diagnosed as having Erb’s Palsy, a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the upper group of the arm’s main nerves. The plaintiff claims that no one explained to her what had happened, and she didn’t know why her baby’s arm was immobile. She was sent home still not knowing what was wrong.

It wasn’t until a year later when the plaintiff visited a pediatric orthopedic doctor that she was told her baby needed an eight-hour operation to correct the injury. The child will require several years of therapy.

The law firm of Balkin & Eisbrouch offer years of experience in birth injury malpractice. If you suspect your child’s condition was caused by doctor negligence, please call us for a free consultation with an Erb’s Palsy lawyer.