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Birth Injury Lawsuit Describes Brachial Plexus Injuries

infant and doctorWhen an expectant mother receives prenatal care, an important component of that care is assessing her risk of labor and delivery complications, based in part on her history of past pregnancies. A recently filed birth injury lawsuit claims that despite having two high-risk pregnancies in the past, a Georgia mother was not given appropriate care and as a result, her minor child suffers from a permanent disability.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Albany division on behalf of the parents and the minor child. The defendants include the U.S. government, which either funded or operated Albany Area Primary Health Care, Inc., doing business as Mirian Worthy Women’s Health Center. The lawsuit also lists a doctor and two midwives as defendants.

Minor child is permanently disabled

The lawsuit notes that the mother began receiving prenatal care on September 20, 2011. She presented to the hospital on April 20, 2012 for the induction of labor. She underwent induction with both Pitocin and Cervidil. It is well known among healthcare professionals that induced labor carries a higher risk of shoulder dystocia. At some point during the labor, healthcare providers noted a non-reassuring fetal heart rate. This prompted the decision to perform a vacuum-assisted vaginal delivery, which resulted in shoulder dystocia of the newborn.

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed that the minor child suffered a traction injury to the nerve roots, including an avulsion, or complete tearing, of the C8 nerve root. The lawsuit notes that the child required surgery for her brachial plexus injury, including nerve transfers and grafts. Despite the surgery and despite intensive physical therapy, the minor child has no use of her left arm.

The child cannot move the arm or experience any sensation in it; it hangs limp at her side. The lawsuit claims these injuries are permanent and irreversible. The child is expected to suffer from lifelong pain and suffering, permanent disfigurement, and ongoing medical expenses.

Pitocin induced birth injury

According to the complaint, the mother received obstetrical and gynecological care from the defendants prior to and during the birth of the minor child. During the course of prenatal care, it was determined that the mother had had two prior pregnancies and delivered both children via vaginal delivery. Both of the children suffered from shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is a condition in which the child’s shoulders become stuck inside the mother during delivery, which poses significant risks for both mother and child. A prior history of shoulder dystocia is a risk factor of future labor and delivery complications. And in fact, the complaint notes that the same midwife was present at the birth of all three of the mother’s children.

Despite this, the complaint alleges that the mother was never informed of the risk, nor was she given the option to have a C-section, which would have prevented this birth injury. With their medical malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiffs demand compensation from the defendants for their alleged negligence, use of excessive force and traction in the delivery, and failure to recommend a C-section, among many other allegations.