Cook County Jury Finds for Family Practice Physician in Newborn’s Brachial Plexus Birth Injury

Nanajan Yakoub, M.D., a family practice physician, was responsible for the prenatal care of Munira Syeda at Swedish Covenant Family Practice Clinic. This was Syeda’s first pregnancy. On July 10, 2002, Dr. Yakoub admitted Munira to Swedish Covenant Hospital for induction of labor and delivery when she was 38.1 weeks because of prenatal concerns regarding increased uric acid, possible gestational hypertension and complaints of leaking fluid.

Syeda’s labor progressed steadily until it was complete, and she began pushing at 4:02 p.m. At 4:35 p.m., Dr. Yakoub utilized a vacuum device three times to try unsuccessfully to deliver the baby, with the device popping off during one of the attempts. 

At 5 p.m., Dr. Yakoub had to leave the hospital for a planned trip out-of-state.The doctor enlisted the help of the defendant, Sunanva Rabella, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician. Dr. Rabella took over the delivery and recommended that the patient rest. 

At 6 p.m., Munira began feeling the urge to push;  she started to push again. Dr. Rabella utilized another attempt at vacuum extraction. The shoulder of the newborn was hung up on the pubic bone of the mother. Because of the shoulder dystocia, Dr. Rabella used the McRoberts and corkscrew maneuvers to deliver the baby.

One minute after the dystocia was encountered, the baby was delivered. However, the newborn, Akif Khan, suffered a C5-6 brachial plexus nerve injury, which resulted in right shoulder disabilities. No medical expenses were submitted to the jury.

The plaintiff argued that Dr. Yakoub’s conduct was below the standard of care because a Caesarean section was not ordered. It was also maintained that Dr. Rabella chose not to perform a C-section as well and that her application of excessive lateral attraction to the baby’s head caused the infant to sustain the brachial plexus damage and permanent disabilities. 

The defendants maintained that the standard of care did not require Dr. Yakoub to initiate a C-section and that she was reasonable in seeking assistance from the obstetrician following the unsuccessful vacuum extraction attempts.

The defense for Dr. Rabella argued that C-section was not indicated and she did not apply lateral extraction to the baby’s head.

Swedish Covenant Hospital settled before the jury’s verdict for $300,000. Counsel for the family of Akif Khan asked the jury to return a verdict of $4,210,000. The jury found that Dr. Yakoub was not guilty of any negligence and was unable to reach a verdict as to Dr. Rabella. 

The attorneys for the family of Akif Khan were Robert Geimer and Shawn Kasserman.

Akif Khan, a minor v. Nanajan Yakoub, M.D. and Sunanva Rabella, M.D., et al., 10 L 7742 (Cook County).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth injury cases for families of injured newborn infants who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Calumet City, Chicago (Andersonville), Chicago (Little Italy), Chicago (Old Town), Norridge, Bedford Park, Chicago (Washington Heights), Palos Heights, Justice, Western Springs and Darien, Ill.

Related blog posts:

 $3.7 Million Verdict in Negligent Handling of Shoulder Dystocia

Two-Year Statute of Limitations Applies to Minors Under the Federal Tort Claims Act; Arteaga v. United States

Cook County Verdict for Doctor in Death of Delivery of Baby Girl