In April 2013, a $1.6 million New York medical malpractice settlement was reached with the medical malpractice defendant hospital and the hospital’s chief resident as a result of alleged medical negligence in properly recognizing and managing a baby’s shoulder dystocia during delivery, thereby leading to the infant suffering mild- to moderate Erb’s palsy of the right brachial plexus and the child developing learning disabilities that require special education classes.
The New York birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the pregnant woman went to the defendant hospital for delivery of her baby. At the hospital, the signs of shoulder dystocia were allegedly not recognized during the delivery. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s head is delivered through the vagina but the shoulders become stuck due to an unusually large baby (obese pregnant woman and pregnant women with diabetes are at an increased risk of having large babies) and/or the pregnant woman’s pelvic opening is too small to deliver the baby’s shoulders.
The woman’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the defendant medical malpractice physician pulled and twisted the baby’s head for about five minutes before he was able to deliver the baby, and that the physician negligently manually rotated the baby’s head without a clear plan for managing the baby’s shoulder dystocia. The medical malpractice lawsuit further alleged that the standard of care required that the physician should have managed the baby’s delivery by flexing the pregnant woman’s legs against her abdomen (called the McRoberts maneuver, which increases mobility at the sacroiliac joint, thereby allowing rotation of the pelvis and facilitating the release of the baby’s shoulder, which is effective about 42% of the time), by applying suprapubic pressure to deliver the head of the baby if the McRoberts maneuver was ineffective, by attempting the Woods’ screw maneuver during which the baby’s anterior shoulder is pushed towards the baby’s chest and the posterior shoulder is pushed toward the baby’s back, thereby maneuvering the baby’s head to partially face its mother’s rectum to facilitate the delivery, and then, if the baby still could not be delivered, by fracturing the baby’s clavicle to deliver the baby.
The New York medical malpractice lawsuit was filed in the Bronx County (New York) Supreme Court and was assigned the case number of 88346A.
Injuries to babies who were delivered following shoulder dystocia may be due to medical negligence. Even a competent and experienced physician may negligently cause serious and permanent injuries to babies when shoulder dystocia is encountered during delivery. It may be desirable to retain a local medical malpractice attorney who will obtain the medical records for both the mother and the baby and arrange to have the medical records reviewed by appropriate medical experts in order to determine if medical malpractice occurred and whether the baby’s injuries were a result of the medical malpractice.
If you or a family member may be the victim of a birth injury that may be due to medical malpractice, you should promptly consult with a New York medical malpractice attorney or a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may be able to investigate your possible medical malpractice claim for you and file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf, if appropriate.
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