For more information of confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Plaintiff Claims Midwife’s Negligence Caused Brachial Plexus Injury

Justice is servedA mother from Florida recently filed a malpractice lawsuit, claiming that her son suffered a brachial plexus injury due to the alleged medical negligence of a certified nurse midwife (CNM). The plaintiff brings multiple counts of medical negligence, including negligent prenatal care, excessive force used during delivery, and failure to implement appropriate medical intervention such as a C-section to reduce the risk of birth injuries during a high risk labor and delivery.

The mother has named the United States of America as the sole defendant. In her lawsuit, she notes that she received prenatal care, and labor and delivery healthcare at a health clinic in Lee County, Florida. Under the Federally Supported Health Center Assistance Act of 1992, this particular health center is federally funded. The certified nurse midwife is considered to be a federal employee of the Public Health Service. Therefore, the plaintiff claims the federal government should be held liable for medical negligence damages pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, Title 28.

High-risk pregnancy

According to the lawsuit, the mother began receiving prenatal care at the health clinic on June 6, 2013. The healthcare staff estimated that her gestational age was 34 weeks and four days, and her estimated date of confinement was July 15, 2013. The complaint does not specify whether the plaintiff received prenatal care elsewhere prior to going to the health clinic in question. Her blood glucose level was measured at 245 mg/dL, which is considered to be extremely high and a cause for concern.

Generally, for women with gestational diabetes, a target glucose level before meals is less than 96 mg/dL, while a target level for two hours after meals is less than 120 mg/dL. Women who had pre-existing diabetes before becoming pregnant are generally instructed to aim for a glucose level of 60 to 99 before meals and 100 to 129 after meals. The birth injury lawsuit does not specify whether the mother had pre-existing or gestational diabetes; however, in either case, the elevated nature of her blood glucose levels should have prompted close medical attention.

In early July, the plaintiff was seen by a physician at a diabetes clinic, who ordered induction at 39 weeks. The given reasons for the induction were diabetes and insufficient care. When the plaintiff presented to the hospital, a certified nurse midwife examined her and the plaintiff received Pitocin to induce labor. According to the suit, the medical records reflect that the baby boy was born via manual assisted vaginal delivery.

Brachial plexus injuries may be permanent

The medical records also note that the baby had shoulder dystocia that persisted for 30 seconds, along with a compound presentation. During the delivery, the CNM used the McRoberts maneuver and Wood’s screw maneuver in an attempt to free the stuck shoulder from the birth canal. However, the use of excessive force and the failure to perform an emergency C-section directly led to the infant’s brachial plexus injury, the lawsuit alleges. The newborn had no movement of his left arm and limited movement of his right arm. The mother demands compensation for the newborn’s ongoing medical problems, which may become permanent.