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Lawsuit Claims Birth Injury Resulted in Permanent Disability

BabyA mother from Pennsylvania has filed a birth injury lawsuit against a doctor and a state-chartered healthcare facility, Delaware Valley Community Health, doing business as Maria de los Santos Health Center (MSHC).

The young mother has filed her complaint as the guardian of her little boy, whom she claims suffered grievous bodily harm as a result of the negligence of Dr. Clinton A. Turner. The lawsuit is proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It claims that medical malpractice during the labor and delivery of the minor child led to permanent, disabling injuries, for which the mother demands compensation.

Defendants administered prenatal care

Late in 2011, the then-22-year-old plaintiff was pregnant with her second child. Her first child was a healthy baby girl, delivered via spontaneous vaginal delivery with no reported complications. The mother arrived at Parkview Health Center for her first prenatal visit. According to the medical malpractice lawsuit, she continued receiving prenatal care at the facility, attending approximately eight appointments between December 2011 and June 2012. In April, at 33 weeks of gestation, the mother underwent another ultrasound. It indicated that the fetal weight was estimated in the 53rd percentile.

On June 17, 2012, the young mother presented to Temple University Hospital, experiencing labor contractions. She was admitted to the care of Dr. Su, a physician associated with Parkview Health Center. However, her care was turned over to Dr. Turner without Dr. Su having examined or provided treatment to her. The plaintiff was also examined by multiple obstetrical residents, who monitored the progress of the labor.

According to the birth injury lawsuit, Dr. Turner “relied on information provided by other medical providers and did not perform his own pelvic and abdominal examination.” As the labor progressed, two other doctors who had been monitoring the young mother advised her that a cesarean section was needed. However, Dr. Turner later indicated in his notes that he planned a vacuum delivery. His notes also indicate that he advised the patient of the risks and that she accepted those risks. The plaintiff disputes this, contending that she was never informed of the risks of a vacuum delivery to herself or to her child.

The lawsuit also claims that at that point, there was no emergency situation that called for an operative vaginal delivery, nor was the plaintiff given the opportunity to decline the operative delivery.

Child suffers brachial plexus injuries

After Dr. Turner delivered the baby with the use of a vacuum extractor, he diagnosed the child with a severe shoulder dystocia. The baby’s left upper arm was limp and the extremity did not respond to stimuli. The baby was also diagnosed with a fracture of the right humerus with concomitant radial nerve injury and possible right brachial plexus injury. He was found to have left global brachial plexus injury, which left him without movement in the left arm.

Several months following the birth, function had still not been restored to the baby’s arm. Another doctor found complete avulsion upon performing an exploratory surgery of the left brachial plexus, for which he performed microscopic nerve graft surgery. However, despite the surgery, the baby has suffered a permanent injury and is expected to have little use of the extremity for his lifetime.

Brachial plexus injuries are particularly prevalent in delivery rooms today. The brachial plexus is the group of nerves that coordinate impulses sent from the spine to the shoulder and extremities. They can cause permanent complications such as pain, stiff joints, loss of feeling, muscle atrophy, and disability. In her birth injury case, the mother is demanding compensation for her child’s severe and permanent neurologic injury, past and future pain and suffering, and past and future medical expenses.