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

Mother Pursues Lawsuit on Behalf of Son with Erb’s Palsy

infant holding mothers handA Delaware mother is currently engaged in a fight to keep medical negligence claims alive in court in order to secure compensation for her son, who was allegedly harmed during labor and delivery. The defendants in the case are seeking summary judgement in the matter, which would prevent negligence arguments from eventually being presented to a jury for decision.

The case at issue stems from events that ocurred on April 9, 2008, in which the plaintiff’s infant son allegedly suffered a serious brachial plexus injury and what will likely be permanent physical disability.

Facts of the underlying case

In the complaint that was filed in early 2014, the plaintiff mother alleged that defendants Dr. Peter J. Wong, M.D. And Dedicated to Women OB-GYN, P.A. engaged in medical negligence during the labor and delivery process leading to the birth of her son.

Specifically, it is argued that during the course of his birth, the plaintiff’s son presented with shoulder dystocia and that Dr. Wong applied excessive downward traction resulting in harm to the boy’s right brachial plexus. According to the plaintiff, the result of this injury was Erb’s Palsy with C5-C6 upper trunk avulsion and suprascapular nerve injury on the child’s right side.

Procedural disputes to be heard

In their motion for summary judgment, defendants have argued that the applicable statute of limitations precludes the plaintiff from pursuing these claims on behalf of her son. They also argue that the plaintiff’s complaint includes claims of negligence with regard to her own medical treatment at the time of her son’s birth, an assertion the plaintiff denies. The court’s ruling on these issues will likely determine whether the plaintiff is permitted to continue in her quest to secure financial compensation for the injuries sustained by her son.

Brachial plexus injuries & mishandling of shoulder dystocia

The complication known as shoulder dystocia is among the most serious that can occur during the process of labor and delivery. The condition develops if an infant’s shoulders become wedged behind the mother’s public bone, rendering conventional birthing difficult, if not impossible. Failure to respond to this condition in a timely fashion and according to properly accepted medical protocols can result in lasting disability and harm to the child.

Erb’s palsy and bone fractures are some of the most common outcomes associated with this particular complication, and it is therefore vital that attending physicians take prompt steps to facilitate immediate delivery, often via C-section.

Brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s Palsy tend to be characterized by a noticeable lack of movement or significant weakness in a child’s arm that stems from birth trauma to a critical group of nerves located near the shoulder. This type of harm often develops as a result of a forceful pulling or application of force to the shoulders by a doctor who is working to expedite the birth process. It can also occur due to an extreme amount of sideways movement by the infant’s head while descending the birth canal.

While the degree to which a child is permanently impacted by such injuries can vary a great deal, it is common for the effects to be lasting, severely disabling and truly life-altering. Like the plaintiff mother in this case, many families whose young children sustain this type of injury are forced to pursue financial recovery that can help them bear the burden of lost wages, mounting medical bills and ongoing therapy and rehabilitation costs.

  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - OrthoInfo, Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy),

  2. Medline Plus, Brachial plexus injury in newborns,