$1 Million Settlement After Excessive Traction Causes Shoulder Dystocia Injury at Birth

In this confidential settlement reached by the family of a newborn and obstetrician, the mother was to deliver her baby at 37 weeks gestation. The mom was admitted to the hospital to deliver the baby. During the second stage of labor, she experienced exhaustion while pushing.  The treating obstetrician used a vacuum extractor in an effort to deliver the baby. 

However, the child suffered severe shoulder dystocia.  The obstetrician applied downward traction to deliver the baby, who was born with a left brachial plexus injury.  The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that responds from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand. A brachial plexus injury takes place when those same nerves are stretched or in some cases torn. This can also happen when in childbirth the baby’s shoulder is pressed down forcefully while the head is pushed up and away from the shoulder. 

The baby in this case is now 3 years old and can barely move her left arm even though she’s had surgery. 

The mother of the baby sued the obstetrician claiming that the use of excessive traction and choosing not to obtain informed consent for the vacuum delivery was below the standard of care for obstetricians in delivering a baby. The lawsuit also maintained that the doctor knew that the mother was at increased risk for shoulder dystocia due to her obesity and the estimated fetal weight of 8 pounds of the unborn child. Shoulder dystocia is the occurrence in childbirth when the baby’s head is delivered, but the shoulder of the infant is unable to pass below the pubic bone of the mother.  This is sometimes anatomical or because of the size of the unborn fetus. 

The obstetrician maintained that the shoulder dystocia was an unpredictable and unavoidable event and that the baby’s injuries resulted from the maternal forces of labor, not his negligence. Before trial, the parties settled for $1.1 million.

The attorney for the family of the injured child was Charles J. Zauzig III. 

Doe v. Roe, Confidential Dkt. No. (Va., Prince George Co. Cir. July 13, 2013).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth injury cases, brachial plexus injury cases and cerebral palsy injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Naperville, Tinley Park, Rosemont, Inverness, Addison, Arlington Heights, Long Grove, Park Forest, Park Ridge, Winnetka, Winfield, Orland Park, Rolling Meadows and Chicago (Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Logan Square and Wicker Park), Ill.

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Chicago Brachial Plexus Injury Lawsuit Receives $3.27 Million Verdict

Chicago Advocate Hospital Settles for $14 Million in Childbirth Death of Mother – Lawson v. Advocate Health Hospitals Corp., et al.