A woman gave birth sometime on October 7, 2005 at a college hospital. An obstetrician attended the birth but an obstetrical resident was the doctor who personally delivered the baby.
The woman’s delivery progressed well but her pushing had to be temporarily stopped because when the baby girl’s head was delivered, it was seen that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s head. The resident clamped the umbilical cord and cut it and then delivered the rest of the baby. The child’s head presented itself with the back of her head facing the right side of her mother’s body. The mother suffered a vaginal laceration with the birth because no episiotomy (surgical cut in the vagina to allow easier delivery of the baby) was made by the resident. They then repaired the vaginal laceration.
After the birth, the pediatrician noted a weakness in the right arm of the baby. The diagnosis was Erb’s palsy as a consequence of the baby’s shoulder getting caught in the mother’s pubic bone. With the mother’s uterus pushing the baby out and the resident pulling the baby out, the baby’s right shoulder was stretched and suffered a fracture and the nerves were pulled and injured resulting in muscle weakness in the right shoulder and right arm.
The woman brought a suit in damages for the medical malpractice of the attending obstetrician, the obstetrical resident, and the college hospital. The woman claims that the doctors’ negligence and deviation from accepted medical practice directly caused the injury to the baby.
The two doctors and the college hospital filed a motion for summary judgment. In support of their motion, they proffered the expert opinion of an obstetrical expert who claimed that the shoulder dystocia of the right shoulder could not have occurred seeing as the child was delivered with the left shoulder passing under the mother’s pubic bone. If shoulder dystocia did occur, it should have occurred on the left shoulder and not on the right shoulder as the right shoulder did not pass near the mother’s pubic bone. The expert stressed that if shoulder dystocia was noted, it would have been noted by the doctors in the charts and records of birth. The expert claimed that the shoulder dystocia of the right shoulder could have been caused by the force of the mother’s uterus as it contracted to expel the baby. In this case, the expert opined, the injury to the child was not caused by any medical malpractice on the part of the doctors, instead, it can be attributed to the action of the mother’s own uterus.
The woman opposed the doctor’s medical expert from Nassau and Suffolk by producing her own medical expert who claimed that the resident was inexperienced in delivering babies. It is possible, according to the mother’s expert, that the resident did not notice that the shoulder became stuck because the resident was too busy removing the umbilical cord around the child’s neck. The delivery of the rest of the baby was stalled and restarted. This was done by the resident telling the mother to begin pushing once more and at the same time, the resident began pulling and pushing the baby in a downward and outward motion. This is most probably when the right shoulder became overly stretched and the nerves on the right shoulder stretched and injured as well resulting in the weakness of the right shoulder. This also explains, according to the expert, why neither the resident nor the attending obstetrician failed to chart the shoulder dystocia. The mother’s expert also claimed that shoulder dystocia due to the action of the mother’s uterus is a zero possibility.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court that in this case where the expert testimony of the doctors and the expert testimony of the mother are opposed on all material points, then an issue of material fact has been raised that must be determined only by a jury. The Court then denied the motion for summary judgment and remanded the case for trial.
Are you like the mother in this case whose baby was injured during the process of delivery and birth? Are you thinking of filing a medical malpractice suit against the doctors? At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, they have Kings Birth Injury Lawyers who are willing to sit down with you and hear the details of your story. Their Kings Birth Injury attorneys can help you present the facts of your case and gather evidence as to who needs to be included in the medical malpractice suit. The Kings Birth Injury lawyers can also help you find a medical expert who can support your claims. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today and ask to confer with any of their Kings Birth Injury attorneys at any of their offices in the New York area.