South Carolina Baby Suffers Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury in Allendale

Shay Morrigan | August 5th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Erb’s Palsy LawsuitOn January 4, 2013, a South Carolina man, as Guardian ad Litem for a minor child, filed an Erb’s palsy lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas, Allendale County. The case was then removed to federal court in the District of South Carolina, where it is currently proceeding.

The plaintiff is suing Allendale County Hospital, Allendale Fairfax Rural Clinic, Amy Loughlin, CNM, and Dr. Janet McKissick for medical malpractice. The defendants allegedly failed to respond appropriately to signs that the infant was suffering from shoulder dystocia during delivery. As a result, the child was later diagnosed with an Erb’s palsy birth injury.

Facts of Erb’s palsy lawsuit

On July 9, 2002, the minor plaintiff’s mother was admitted to the hospital in Allendale County for delivery. According to court documents in this Erb’s palsy lawsuit, defendants Loughlin and McKissick were in charge of the mother and her baby, and were responsible for their care. As such, they had a duty to provide adequate newborn care and support services consistent with generally accepted standards.

The Guardian ad Litem for the minor plaintiff claims that the defendants breached their duties of care to the mother and infant son, and were negligent, reckless and otherwise wrongful in their care and attention to them. He also claims that the hospital was also negligent in failing to require its employees to acquire the appropriate training in managing complications of delivery, including shoulder dystocia.

Baby diagnosed with Erb’s palsy birth injury

Shoulder dystocia is a condition in which the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged under the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. In essence, the baby becomes “stuck.” There are certain accepted techniques that doctors are supposed to use when confronting this condition, that according to the plaintiff, the defendants failed to use.

Court documents state that the midwife and doctor did not recognize the symptoms of shoulder dystocia in a timely manner. When they did realize what was happening, they allegedly used improper and excessive force and/or traction to pull the baby through, resulting in an injury to the brachial plexus nerves. After the birth, the baby was diagnosed with an Erb’s palsy birth injury.

Long-term effects of Erb’s palsy

The plaintiffs in this case further allege that the healthcare professionals at Allendale failed to perform a Cesarean section, which is frequently warranted in cases of shoulder dystocia. Because of the resulting injury, the minor child suffers permanent impairments and disabilities, disfigurement, and pain and suffering. The family has had to endure increased expenses, and will have to find a way to pay for future medical care and therapy, as well.

The long-term effects of Erb’s palsy can range from total loss of motion and feeling in the affected arm to complete recovery. Some babies, with appropriate medical care and treatment, will eventually regain movement of their arm. Others suffer permanent nerve damage and will suffer complications for the rest of their lives.

The plaintiff seeks actual and punitive damages.

Filing a birth injury lawsuit

The firm of Balkin & Eisbrouch understands the emotional and financial hardships placed on families whose children have been injured by negligent medical care. Their lawyers are currently offering free case evaluations to help parents determine their eligibility for filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit. Well-versed in birth injury malpractice cases, their legal team has leveraged 45 years of litigation skills to secure court awards and birth injury settlements on behalf of clients.

AAOS, Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy) http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00077