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Birth Injury Lawsuit Claims Negligent Prenatal and Delivery Care

newborn in incubatorA Florida resident accuses a certified nurse midwife of negligence that allegedly caused her child to suffer brachial plexus injuries during childbirth. The complaint was brought in the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, where the plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial. Since the Florida healthcare clinic where the mother delivered her child is funded by the federal government, the United States of America has been named defendant.

According to the birth injury lawsuit, the defendant healthcare providers negligently failed to properly manage the delivery, even though the mother suffered from gestational diabetes and a high risk pregnancy.

Barbara Carroll, CNM, is accused of several transgressions and omissions at the time of the plaintiff’s delivery, which allegedly fell below the applicable medical standards of care. The suit is seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $2,500.000,000.

Details of brachial plexus injury lawsuit

The complaint states that the claimant was admitted to the Gulf Coast Medical Center in 2013 for labor induction. Pitocin was administered intravenously and gradually increased to help expedite the labor process and induce contractions. A preliminary vaginal examination by the certified nurse midwife reported intact membranes, but an estimated fetal weight was not taken into consideration. The medical records reflect a manually assisted vaginal delivery of a baby boy by the CNM, who performed a midline episiotomy.

At this time, the delivery record shows the baby experienced shoulder dystocia, which is treated an as obstetric emergency.  The certified nurse midwife eventually delivered the child’s shoulder through the birth canal through employing subrapubic pressure, the McRoberts maneuver and the Wood’s screw maneuver.

The child weighed nearly 9 pounds at birth and had facial bruising, overriding sutures, limited movement of the right arm and no movement of the left arm. A subsequent examination confirmed that he had experienced injury to the brachial plexus nerves, which control movement in the hands, arms and shoulder. 

On July 16, 2013, the child was taken to a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who diagnosed and documented severe left upper extremity brachial plexopathy. Later that month, the boy was seen by a reconstructive plastic surgeon who confirmed the brachial plexus injury to the left side of the body and referred the patient for occupational and physical therapy. The surgeon also talked to the plaintiff about the possible need for reconstructive surgery.

The plaintiffs claim negligence stemmed from the following actions and omissions:

  • Failing to estimate the fetal weight
  • Failing to ascertain risk factors for a high risk pregnancy, including those for shoulder dystocia
  • Rushing the delivery
  • Using excessive traction and force to deliver the child vaginally
  • Failing to provide acceptable medical treatment and intervention in light of the circumstances
  • Failing to order and perform a C-section delivery

Baby may suffer permanent disability

As a direct result of his brachial plexus injuries, the plaintiff’s child is alleged to have suffered bodily harm, resulting in pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish, loss of earning capacity and loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life. In her ongoing care for her infant child, the plaintiff has incurred substantial medical expenses, which are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

Fetal macrosomia (having a disproportionately large body in relation to the head) is a common occurrence in pregnant women with gestational diabetes, thus making shoulder dystocia a more likely complication during childbirth.