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Mississippi Mother Alleges Physician Negligence in Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit

Baby holding mother's fingerA Mississippi mother has filed suit against the physician who attended the birth of her daughter as well as PHC-Cleveland, Inc. d/b/a Bolivar Medical Center and LifePoint Hospitals for alleged negligence resulting in permanent disability.

According to the complaint, the acts and omissions occurring during labor and delivery ultimately resulted in the girl’s diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy secondary to shoulder dystocia.

Birth injury case facts & allegations

The plaintiff mother in this case was admitted to Bolivar Medical Center on November 7, 2012 in order to deliver her child. During the course of labor, complications began to arise which the plaintiff now argues were negligently addressed by the defendant physician. She claims that the medical staff failed to recognize or determine the true size of the baby and contemplate the use of alternative birthing methods including Caesarian section. It is also claimed that the relevant standard of care was breached when fundal pressure was applied to the plaintiff’s abdomen in an attempt to hasten delivery of the child.

Further, it is alleged that the physician negligently pulled on the infant’s head during the birthing process, resulting in impingement of the right shoulder which has caused lasting injury. It is asserted that these actions combined to produce a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy secondary to shoulder dystocia.┬áThe plaintiff states that the child will likely need to undergo ongoing treatment in connection to her diagnosis and will also experience continued pain, suffering, mental anguish, lost earning capacity and loss of enjoyment.

The plaintiff also cites her own injuries and damages in the form of grief, emotional distress, inconvenience, lost wages and more. She seeks compensation for the harm suffered by herself and her daughter and is pursuing payment for past, present and future medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs as well as lost wages.

Shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries

Shoulder dystocia is an extremely serious labor and delivery complication, often resulting when a baby’s shoulders wedge themselves behind the pubic bone of the mother. The effect of this is a difficult, if not impossible birth, if attempted through conventional means. A physician’s failure to promptly recognize and address this development by following accepted standards of care can produce permanent disability. Erb’s Palsy, fractures and even paralysis are a few common outcomes, and that is why physicians are urged to respond quickly and facilitate emergency delivery, commonly by performing a caesarian section.

Erb’s Palsy stemming from brachial plexus injury is frequently marked by weakness and/or a lack of movement in a youngster’s arm, produced by trauma to critical nerves situated in the shoulder area. Harm of this sort often comes from undue applications of force or pulling by a physician attempting to facilitate quick delivery.

Though each case is unique and the true impact of these injuries can vary significantly from child to child, it is not uncommon for patients to experience long-lasting, sometimes profound disability as a result. Families with children affected by Erb’s Palsy often have years of financial burdens ahead in the form of increased medical costs, therapy expenses and other vital accommodations.


  1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons - OrthoInfo, Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy), http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00077

  2. Medline Plus, Brachial plexus injury in newborns, http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00077