$3,500,000 Settlement for Brachial Plexus Injury During Birth / Erb’s Palsy

Carol represented a little boy, now 5 years old, whose arm was injured during his birth. His mother came to the hospital in labor, having had no prenatal care. Her first child had been delivered by c-section several years before. No one at the hospital was able to obtain her records from the first delivery since her labor was progressing quickly. Therefore, no one knew the reason why she had had a c-section for the first delivery, and no one knew the type of scar that was on her uterus from the earlier operation. The standard of medical care to be followed when there is an unknown scar on the uterus, is to perform a c-section, to avoid the chance that the uterus will rupture from the contractions. The doctor at the teaching hospital where this occurred decided however, that the mother could deliver vaginally, and after the baby’s head came out, his shoulder got stuck. There was evidence that the doctor pulled on the baby in order to free the stuck shoulder, which is not an appropriate maneuver to do when this situation occurs. A particularly severe Erb’s Palsy injury occurred, and there was deposition testimony that the delivering physician instructed the resident to destroy the medical note she had written and rewrite it for “damage control.” The case settled for 3.5 million dollars after mediation.