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Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuit Filed in GA Federal Court

infant holding mothers hand

Shoulder dystocia is a delivery room emergency that occurs when the baby’s head is delivered but the shoulder is unable to pass through the birth canal. Extracting a child in this scenario can be difficult, and permanent nerve damage can occur if the delivery is not executed with care and expertise.

On August 12, 2015, the mother of a child born in February, 2011 filed a lawsuit under the federal Tort Claims Act for damages relating to the birth of her son – who endured a brachial plexus injury during delivery allegedly due to a negligent obstetric team.

The plaintiff has further alleged that her child will require lifelong care, and will likely experience the effects of the nerve injury into adulthood.

Details of brachial plexus injury lawsuit

Operating under auspices of the federal government (which is also named as a defendant), the Atlanta Medical Center is alleged to have negligently and unreasonably handled the delivery of the plaintiff’s baby, and the plaintiff points to several circumstances in her childbirth experience that could have been handled differently to avoid injury.

The plaintiff presented at the hospital on February 22, 2011 around midnight, just one day prior to her due date. Immediately prior to her admission, the plaintiff was examined and determined to be 5 centimeters dilated, however the baby had not made significant descent into the birth canal – as noted by the station status of -1. The plaintiff continued to labor for several more hours, during which her dilatation increased but her station did not. In other words, the baby was not progressing at an ideal rate for imminent delivery.

After several hours laboring, evidence of fetal heart rate decelerations, and several more hours of pushing, the obstetrician made several attempts to deliver the baby via vacuum extraction. Finally, at 2:30 pm on February 22, 2011, the child was born via vaginal delivery with a fractured left clavicle and brachial plexus injury.

Causes of action leveled

The plaintiff raises several causes of action against the defendants, namely the negligent handling and care of her and her baby during the delivery process.

More specifically, the plaintiff noted the defendants’ failure to complete the following:

  • Promptly diagnose and care for the mother
  • Adequately monitor the child’s heart rates during delivery
  • Recognize the heightened risk factors for shoulder dystocia
  • Adequately utilize the vacuum extraction method
  • Use of accepted obstetric maneuvers to free the baby’s shoulders
  • Timely ordering of an emergency C-section delivery

As a result of the above errors, the plaintiff alleged that her son will be permanently disabled as a result of the loss of use of his arm. The plaintiff is also seeking damages to compensate for her medical expenses, emotional turmoil, the physical impairment and disfigurement of her son, her son’s loss of earning capacity, and her son’s mental and physical anguish.

  1., Shoulder dystocia,

  2., Shoulder dystocia management,