$1.95 Million Verdict for Birth Injury

A Mercer County jury awarded a six-year-old boy a total of $1,800,000 for disability, pain and suffering, and future lost wages and, his parents $150,000 for the additional services they provide to him in the way of physical therapy. The child was born at Princeton Medical Center in March 1998, and the delivery was complicated by shoulder dystocia. It was claimed that the doctor had to have used forceful downward traction on the head, as the overwhelming majority of such injuries are caused by such traction. The doctor denied using any traction whatsoever, gentle or forceful, claiming that his delivery technique completely avoided all traction all together, and that the injury must have been due to some other cause. The defendant’s expert witness admitted that the doctor performed an improper maneuver when he attempted to turn the stuck shoulder counterclockwise, which by itself could have caused the injury, and, agreed that the overwhelming majority of such cases are in fact due to excessive downward traction. Defendant’s pediatric neurologist was barred from testifying that in his opinion, the child was injured because the head and shoulders traveled down the birth canal at different speeds, the court finding an inadequate scientific basis upon which to ground such opinion. Blume Donnelly principal Carol Forte tried the case for the family.