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Arkansas Mother Files Birth Injury Lawsuit

infant and father holding hands

An Arkansas mother has filed a birth injury lawsuit against the healthcare center where her son was born. According to the claim, in 2013 the plaintiff was a gestational diabetic 27-year-old woman pregnant with her third child. While her due date wasn’t until March 21, 2013, she was admitted to the hospital at 8:15 am with ruptured membranes.

The mother had undergone an ultrasound five days earlier, on February 22, 2013, when she was informed the estimated weight of her child was believed to be 8 lbs. 11 oz., which was greater than the 90th percentile for the gestational age.

Medical records indicate that the unborn child was macrosomic — a term used to describe a newborn who is significantly larger than average. Fetal macrosomia may complicate vaginal delivery and can put the infant at risk of injury during birth. Additionally, this condition can also put the child at an increased risk of health problems after delivery.

Details of birth injury lawsuit

When the mother was admitted to the hospital on the morning of February 27, she was known to be an insulin dependent woman carrying a macrosomic baby. Upon admission, she was determined to be 4 to 5cm dilated and at minus 1 station. Besides these records, there is no other written recording of her station by the nursing staff at the hospital.

At 12:11 pm, Pitocin was started and shortly after, at 12:24 pm, the mother requested an epidural, which was administered at approximately 12:40 pm. Following the start of augmentation, her labor progress was slow. By 5:43 pm, she was 8 to 9 cm dilated and did not become fully dilated until 9:42 pm. At 9:45 pm, the nurses’ notes indicate that she was in stirrups and the doctor was in for delivery.

Starting at 9:48 pm, two nurses and a doctor began to perform shoulder dystocia resolution maneuvers, specifically McRoberts maneuver, supra pubic pressure, states the claim.

According to her doctor’s medical records, the mother could not deliver the child after becoming completely dilated, due to maternal exhaustion. Therefore, the vacuum extractor was applied at 9:52 pm, but it kept leaking and had to be reapplied three times, which finally resulted in the delivery of the head of the baby at 9:55 pm. However, the body of the baby was not delivered until 10:01 pm. At birth, the child weighed 11 lbs. 1 oz.

According to pediatric notes, the child had suffered cardiac arrest and was essentially lifeless. Cardiac and respiratory resuscitation were performed on the baby. His Apgar scores were zero at one minute and two at five minutes. The infant was intubated three minutes after delivery. Ultimately, the baby suffered respiratory failure, acute kidney failure with tubular necrosis, subgaleal hemorrhage resulting in HIE with permanent brain damage, left brachial plexus palsy and Horner’s Syndrome.

About brachial plexus palsy

A brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand are stretched, compressed or ripped away from the spinal cord. Infants sometimes sustain brachial plexus injuries during a difficult delivery process, such as a breech presentation or a challenging labor.

If the child’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal, there is an increased risk of sustaining this type of injury. Typically, the upper nerves become injured, which is a condition called Erb’s palsy. When both the upper and lower nerves are damaged, total brachial plexus birth palsy occurs.

Signs and symptoms of a brachial plexus injury can vary greatly, according to the severity and location of the injury. The worst damages can leave the arm paralyzed, with a loss of function and sensation.