The Turkewitz Law Firm, 228 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017 Phone: (212) 983-5900
Childbirth Medical Malpractice Birth Injury
Baby's palsy blamed on excessively forceful delivery
Plaintiff Attorney(s): Eric Turkewitz, The Turkewitz Law Firm, New York, NY
Defense Attorney(s): Daniel G. Federico, Garson, Gerspach, DeCorato & Cohen L.L.P., New York, NY
Facts & Allegations:
At 3:21 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2000, plaintiff Chelsea Xxxxxxxxx-Xxxxx was born. The delivery was performed at Lutheran Medical Center, in Brooklyn. During the delivery, doctors encountered a shoulder dystocia--one of Chelsea's shoulders had become caught within her mother's birth canal. The dystocia was overcome, but doctors subsequently determined that Chelsea suffers Erb's palsy, nerve damage that causes one arm to hang limply. Chelsea's mother, Ligia Xxxxx, claimed that the palsy resulted from damage that was caused by excessive traction that was used to relieve the dystocia.
Xxxxx, acting individually and as Chelsea's parent and natural guardian, sued the resident who delivered Chelsea, Dr. [IK]; the attending physician, Dr. [HM]; and Lutheran Medical Center. Xxxxx alleged that the defendants failed to properly relieve Chelsea's shoulder dystocia and that their failures constituted medical malpractice.
Xxxxx claimed that the shoulder dystocia was recognized at the time of birth and that [IK] failed to undertake any special maneuvers or procedures to relieve the impacted shoulder. She contended that [IK] instead used excessive traction on the infant's head to accomplish delivery.
[IK]'s notes indicated that a McRobert's maneuver was performed and that suprapubic pressure was applied. Neither procedure typically involves traction of the head. Plaintiffs' counsel acknowledged that such procedures would have satisfied good, accepted practice standards However, [HM], who entered the room minutes after Chelsea's birth, wrote in his notes that "they encountered mild shoulder dystocia and without any special force or maneuver, the baby was delivered without difficulty."
Plaintiffs' counsel also contended that the timing of the stages of labor had been written over in the medical records. She contended that the second stage of labor, full cervical dilation, was noted to have started at 12:20 a.m. in one record, but that, in another record, the second stage of labor was noted to have started at 2:10 a.m., with the original time written over. Given that Chelsea was born was 3:21 a.m., this would have "shortened" the second stage of labor considerably. Plaintiffs' counsel contended that a labor of almost three hours is a prolonged labor for a woman who has previously given birth, even without the presence of a shoulder dystocia.
Plaintiff(s): Ligia Xxxxx: $27,000 plaintiff's total award
Demand: None reported
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