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Illinois Doctor Charged with Medical Malpractice in Birth Injury Case

iStock_000017269108SmallA mother from Illinois has filed a birth injury lawsuit against a doctor and hospital, alleging that their negligence resulted in her child’s brachial plexus injury. The complaint was filed on February 21, 2014 in the Circuit Court for Cook County, Illinois. At the heart of the complaint is the allegation that the healthcare provider did not properly assess whether the mother could safely give birth via vaginal delivery. The failure to perform a C-section allegedly led to the minor child’s severe birth injuries.

Minor child suffers permanent disability

According to the complaint, the mother presented to the hospital on April 10, 2008 to deliver her daughter. She had previously received prenatal care from one of the defendants throughout the course of her pregnancy. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to adequately provide proper prenatal care and did not assess whether the plaintiff could safely deliver her child via vaginal birth.

As an alleged result of these acts of medical negligence, the minor child was born with shoulder dystocia and a brachial plexus injury. Shoulder dystocia is a condition in which the infant’s shoulders become wedged within the mother’s body during delivery, creating the potential for birth injuries. Normally, the potential for shoulder dystocia is detectable when the fetus is abnormally large, or the mother is diabetic, overweight, or has a small pelvic opening. An attentive healthcare provider can assess the risk of shoulder dystocia during prenatal checkups. However, the lawsuit alleges that the mother’s prenatal care was insufficient.

When shoulder dystocia does occur, attendant healthcare professionals can still safely deliver the child by performing an episiotomy or a cesarean section to prevent the possibility of birth injuries. According to the plaintiff’s complaint, neither of these procedures was performed. Shoulder dystocia can lead to significant complications for both mother and baby, including brachial plexus injuries.

The minor child suffers from damage to the brachial plexus, which is the network of nerves responsible for transmitting electrical impulses among the shoulder, arm, and hand. Shoulder dystocia can cause these nerves to become stretched or torn, causing symptoms as minor as numbness to as major as paralysis.

Although the specifics of the minor child’s condition are unknown, she could suffer from the following complications as a result of the brachial plexus injury:

  • Severe and ongoing pain
  • Inability to use the shoulder and elbow muscles
  • Inability to use the fingers
  • Complete paralysis and lack of sensation in the entire arm and shoulder

Multiple allegations against doctor, hospital

This birth injury lawsuit claims that not only did the doctor fail to provide adequate prenatal care and assess the risk of shoulder dystocia, but that she also failed to recognize the condition when it occurred and act accordingly. The claimant contends the doctor did not perform appropriate delivery techniques to reduce the risk of a brachial plexus injury, and that she failed to “seek an appropriate and more skilled physician when defendant knew or should have known that this particular delivery was going to be difficult.”

The lawsuit further charges the doctor with exerting excessive force on the infant during delivery, maneuvering the infant inappropriately, failing to inform the parents of the risks of these maneuvers, and failing to either offer or perform a cesarean section.

As a result of these alleged acts, the minor child suffers from severe and permanent physical injuries, the loss of a normal life, and pain and suffering.

The hospital also faces these allegations, as well as the contention that the delivery was not properly supervised and the healthcare providers were not properly managed. The claimant contends the hospital did not properly investigate the qualifications of its staff and provide competent service to the plaintiff.