California Woman Files Brachial Plexus Paralysis Lawsuit

Sarah May | May 1st, 2014 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Brachial Plexus Paralysis Lawsuit A California mother has filed a brachial plexus paralysis lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court, stemming from the December 7 birth of her son. The complaint names multiple defendants, including Loy Pham, M.D.; La Familia & Women’s Medical Clinic; Drs. Mishal, Bender & Obgyn Associates; Downey Regional Medical Center and nursing staff and related healthcare professionals whose identities will be ascertained as the lawsuit progresses.

Background of brachial plexus paralysis lawsuit

According to the complaint, the plaintiff mother was admitted to the Downey Regional Medical Center on December 7, 2012 for the delivery of her infant. Dr. Pham was the physician attending the labor and delivery process. The prenatal and labor periods were marked by serious complications, including severe maternal gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension, premature rupture of the membranes and impending shoulder dystocia. The infant was delivered vaginally rather than via C-section.

The complaint further alleges that as a result of the doctor’s failure to order a C-section, the baby was born with permanent, severe left brachial plexus paralysis as well as additional neurological injuries, while the mother sustained vaginal injuries, emotional distress and other trauma. It is also alleged that the baby’s father, also present during labor and delivery, suffered severe emotional distress as a result of witnessing the mishandling of the birth and the injury to his son.

According to the complaint, the defendant physicians were negligent in their diagnosis, treatment and care of the mother and baby throughout the pregnancy and during labor and delivery. It is alleged that the defendant nursing staff was negligent in its failure to communicate effectively with attending physicians and properly assist with the shoulder dystocia birthing process. The defendant medical facilities are accused of failing to assess the qualifications and credentials of the attending staff to handle high-risk labor and failing to property train and supervise employees.

As a result of the events of December 7, 2012 and the preceding prenatal period, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for hospital and medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, payment for emotional distress and more.

Shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most alarming and dangerous complications that can arise during labor and delivery, and develops when a baby’s shoulders are wedged behind the pubic bone of the mother, making a conventional birth more challenging. If this condition is not addressed promptly and according to accepted medical protocols by the attending labor and delivery staff, devastating birth injuries can result. Brachial plexus injuries can occur if physicians do not timely order delivery by Cesarean section.

A brachial plexus injury is characterized by loss of movement or severe weakness in a child’s arms resulting from trauma to a key bundle of nerves close to the shoulder. Such injuries, when sustained during birth, tend to arise due to forceful pulling of the child’s shoulders by a doctor attempting to expedite delivery, or because of extreme sideways movement of the child’s head as it descends the birth canal. Though the seriousness of the harm done varies among babies, it is regrettably common for the impact of such events to be lasting and debilitating in nature.

Birth injury lawyers can help

Brachial plexus injuries stemming from mishandled cases of shoulder dystocia can have profoundly negative effects on babies as well as their entire lifetimes. If you believe that your child’s harm was caused by birth injury malpractice on the part of labor and delivery professionals, we hope you will call upon us to help you secure the justice and financial compensation you deserve.

Call Balkin & Eisbrouch at 855-60-BIRTH to receive a free, no-obligation consultation so that we can review the facts of your case and determine appropriate legal options.


  1. Mayo Clinic, Brachial plexus injury, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/brachial-plexus-injury/basics/definition/con-20028265

  2. Medscape, Neonatal Brachial Plexus Palsies, http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/317057-overview

  3. American Family Physician, Shoulder Dystocia, http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0401/p1707.html