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Birth Injury Malpractice Alleged by California Mother

ultrasound - birthA California mother filed a birth injury lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, demanding compensatory damages on behalf of her minor child. Janice M. Exum, M.D., Exum Medical Corporation and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center are listed as defendants on the complaint, which was added to court dockets on May 24, 2013. According to the plaintiff’s team of  lawyers, negligent medical care both before and during delivery caused the woman’s child to suffer nerve injuries and cranial trauma, leaving the newborn with serious injuries that will require surgical intervention. Three causes of action are brought against the defendants including medical malpractice, general negligence and general negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The plaintiff, who resides in Compton, California, requests the following monetary relief:

  • Compensatory and special damages
  • Birth injury lawsuit costs
  • Attorney and legal fees
  • Any other fees that the court deems just and proper

Medical negligence blamed for child’s Erb’s Palsy

According to court documents, the plaintiff had delivered three prior children vaginally without any complications, and was thus advised by Dr. Janice Exum that her fourth child would also be delivered naturally since the fetal weight and size appeared normal during pre-natal exams. She was then referred to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center where she presented on November 26, 2012 in pre labor. The plaintiff was under the care of Dr. Narender N. Bhatia, who ruptured her amniotic sac and instructed the woman to begin pushing, though no fetal exams or testing were purportedly administered. During labor, the plaintiff alleges that the process was extremely difficult, and despite her pushes no progress was made. She contends that she told Dr. Bhatia that she was experiencing too much pressure and could not continue. Dr. Bhatia then decided to employ vacuum suction without the consent of the mother.

The claimant contends that during the vacuum-assisted labor, the cap popped off the fetal head. Dr. Bhatia re-positioned the vacuum cap on the baby’s head and continued to proceed until the infant’s shoulders became lodged in the birth canal. At that point, the physician allegedly pushed the baby’s head back in the birth canal and mandated an emergency Cesarean section. The minor plaintiff was born via C-section, weighing slightly over 10.5 pounds.

Upon delivery, the baby was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where an attending doctor named Steve Y. Cho told the plaintiff that the child was “bruised and purple without oxygen to the brain.” The baby remained in NICU for 60 days. The California mother says that because Dr. Exum misdiagnosed the fetal birth weight and did not recommend a C-section, her child suffered nerve injuries during a difficult vaginal labor and will need surgery to address her left Erb’s Palsy. She further states that her child will also need to see a neurologist and cardiologist.

Medical records denied to plaintiff

The birth injury lawsuit alleges that during a postnatal appointment with Dr. Exum, in which the claimant requested copies of her medical records, these were defensively refused. Erb’s Palsy lawyers for the mother claim that the defendants “negligently failed to exercise the proper degree of knowledge, skill and competence in examining, diagnosing, treating and caring for the plaintiffs” by incompetently advising the woman that her baby should be delivered via natural birth and using a vacuum rather than a C-section.

The plaintiff demands a trial by jury and seeks compensation in excess of $25,000 in the suit.