$1 Million Settlement for Shoulder Dystocia / Nerve Damage

Carol Forte settled a brachial plexus injury case for $1 million. The child was born at a Newark, New Jersey hospital. During the birth process, the baby’s shoulder became stuck on the mother’s pubic bone after the head was delivered (shoulder dystocia). A first-year resident attempted to complete the delivery but could not, and called for help. A senior resident in obstetrics and the attending physician arrived to lend assistance. Soon after birth, the injury to the baby’s arm was noted. The plaintiffs claimed that one or more of the physicians, in an effort to free the stuck shoulder, exerted excessive downward traction on the head, causing damage to the brachial plexus nerves which control arm, wrist and hand function (resulting in an Erb’s Brachial Plexus Palsy). The baby weighed over 11 pounds, a possibility which was not recognized beforehand, and which increased the risk of a shoulder dystocia. The child also has speech and learning difficulties which are not thought to be related to the brachial plexus injury, but which, when combined with the nerve damage to the child’s arm, will make it more difficult for the boy to obtain employment when he reaches adulthood.