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Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury Lawsuit Results in $1.8 Million Verdict for Plaintiff

Omaha News reported late last month on the conclusion of a birth injury lawsuit where a jury found for the family of a girl who lost the use her arm following medical errors during her birth. As with virtually all of these cases, the family is grateful for the redress, but they would obviously return it all for their child not to have suffered the life-changing harm in the first place. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that while the award total might seem large at first glance, it results from the fact that young girl will likely need costly and significant medical and caregiving aid for the rest of her life.

The girl in this case suffered the permanent injury during her turbulent birth in the summer of 2008. The girl was large for an infant, weighing in at more than 9 pounds when she was delivered. Unfortunately, it seems that her obstetrician failed to properly account for her large size or deal effectively with the traumatic delivery. According to attorneys for the family that filed the birth injury lawsuit, the doctor made a series of critical mistakes during the delivery.

A vacuum was used to help the child navigate the birth canal. However, there were serious questions raised about whether or not the vacuum was necessary. As a result of that step, the child’s shoulder became caught on the side of her mother’s pelvis. This is a common problem when mistakes are made by medical professionals during a birth. In an effort to fix the problem the doctor applied too much force in pulling down on the baby’s head. The pressure ultimately caused the newborn to experience significant nerve damage to one arm. Three nerves were ripped completely out and two others were ruptured in half. The damage left the arm virtually paralyzed. She has already had several surgeries, and many more are expected. Her parents explain that the three and half year old is just now beginning to look at other kids at her daycare and wonder why she is different.

The birth injury lawyers who represented the victim explained that pulling down on the head during a delivery is a clear mistake-one that all medical professionals know should never be done. However, it seems that the doctor in this case panicked during the troubling birth and made the severe mistake. The specific name for the harm caused in shoulder dystocia. Our office has handled many cases where local victims suffered this injury as a result of excess force being applied during a birth.

As the lawyers in this case explained, shoulder dystocia can be prevented or safely handled without application of excessive force. Doctors can usually either manipulate the mother’s legs or exert pressure on the pelvis area itself. However, there are times when doctors rush and apply the extra force. That application of force is only ever necessary when the child’s oxygen levels begin to drop. But when those levels do not drop, the force is simply exerted in error-often with serious, preventable consequences.

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