For more information or confidential assistance
Call 800-306-3180

Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Claims Medical Malpractice and Lack of Informed Consent

newborn close-upA mother plaintiff has filed an Erb’s palsy lawsuit on behalf of her daughter, who was left with serious and permanent injuries due to medical malpractice in the delivery room. The plaintiff’s case also alleges she was not given the information necessary to provide proper consent for the treatments she received during her labor and delivery of her child.

Lawsuit filed in federal court

This lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on May 15, 2015. The defendants listed in the complaint include The United States of America and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, after an administrative claim filed by the plaintiff in September 2014 was denied by the Department of Health and Human Services on March 17, 2015. The plaintiff gave birth to her daughter at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in Westchester County.

According to the plaintiff’s complaint, the physicians attending her labor and delivery failed to respond appropriately when it was discovered the baby had shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when one of the baby’s shoulders get stuck during delivery, usually behind the mother’s pubic bone. This problem can cause serious complications for both the mother and baby, by significantly slowing the labor process and increasing the potential for injury to the child.

About brachial plexus injuries

The mother plaintiff in this case asserts that medical staff at Phelps Memorial Hospital Center failed to perform appropriate maneuvers to try to deliver the baby safely, and instead applied undue traction that led to a brachial plexus injury.

Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to the collection of nerves around the shoulder. The result can be weakness or loss of movement in the shoulder and arm. The infant now suffers from a condition known as Erb’s palsy, which may prohibit the infant from moving the shoulder and sometimes part of the arm.

There are varying degrees of severity with Erb’s palsy. In the most severe conditions, the infant may be permanently disabled. This can impact the child’s development throughout childhood, as well as her ability to function as an adult. According to the mother plaintiff in this complaint, her child has suffered “serious and permanent personal injuries.”

Lack of information led to poor choices

The mother also asserts that she was not properly informed about the shoulder dystocia, rendering her unable to make educated decisions about her child. Specifically, she says she was not provided with alternative treatments or foreseeable risks when she was put in a position of making choices during the childbirth process. She states in her complaint that a “reasonably prudent person” would not have agreed to the treatment performed if she had been fully informed of her options.

As a result of her child’s injuries, the mother plaintiff is now seeking monetary damages from the defendants in an amount that exceeds jurisdictional limits of the lower courts. In her counts, the plaintiff has stated the U.S. Government and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has violated provisions in the New York Public Health Law.