Jury Finds in Favor of Doctor in Shoulder Dystocia Injury Case

On June 6, 2006, the newborn baby, America Camacho, was delivered by the defendant obstetrician, Dr. Sonya Thomas, at Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago. Baby America weighed 10.5 pounds at birth. A medical negligence lawsuit was filed against Dr. Thomas and Norwegian American Hospital. The family of America maintained that Dr. Thomas chose not to review a June 1, 2006 prenatal ultrasound report, negligently chose not to suspect fetal macrosomia based on the ratio of the fetal head circumference to abdominal circumference, and relied solely upon the estimated fetal weight measurement of just under 8 pounds before the vaginal delivery.

Fetal macrosomia is a medical term used to describe a newborn whose size at birth is significantly larger than average. A baby diagnosed with fetal macrosomia will have a birth weight of more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4000 grams).

Fetal macrosomia poses health risks for the baby and the mother. One of the most common dangers to the unborn fetus is injury to the baby’s shoulder or injury to the important nerves in the baby’s shoulder area that control movement and arm function.

Baby America actually weighed 10.5 pounds at birth. As a result, her right shoulder became lodged behind her mother‘s pubic bone after America’s head was delivered with an outlet vacuum extractor.
Dr. Thomas initiated a series of shoulder dystocia delivery maneuvers, which successfully dislodged the shoulder, but the baby sustained a permanent brachial plexus injury to that right shoulder and arm.

America Camacho’s lawyers presented evidence at the trial of past medical expenses in the area of $1.175 million and present cash value medical expenses of nearly $500,000, with lifetime lost income projected for America at $642,555.

The Camacho family conceded that the appropriate delivery maneuvers were done upon encountering the shoulder dystocia, but maintained that Dr. Thomas caused the shoulder dystocia and the resulting injury by choosing not to diagnose macrosomia and also improperly using the vacuum extractor when its use was contraindicated when delivering a macrosomic baby.

The defendants denied negligence and argued that reliance on the estimated weight of the unborn baby was within the standard of care. The hospital was sued only on the issue of apparent agency and settled before the start of the trial for $75,000. According to the report on this case, the jury deliberated more than 5 hours before reaching its verdict in favor of the doctor, who was the sole remaining defendant in the case at trial. It was reported that the jurors were split 6 to 6 on liability at the first vote.

The attorneys representing the America Camacho family were Guy Delson Geleerd Jr. and Christopher Bargione. There was no demand to settle the case before trial but the jury was asked to return a verdict in the range of $3.6 to $4.8 million. There was no offer made on behalf of Dr. Thomas.

At this jury trial, America Camacho’s counsel presented experts in obstetrics and gynecology, rehabilitation and physical medicine and a vocational economics analyst. The defendant Dr. Thomas presented experts who testified in obstetrics and neurology.

America Camacho, a minor v. Dr. Sonya L. Thomas, No. 12 L 12459.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling birth trauma injury cases, birth injury cases, should dystocia injury cases and medical negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Burr Ridge, Western Springs, Oakbrook Terrace, Yorkfield, Westchester, Bellwood, Maywood, Franklin Park, Schiller Park, Bensenville, Itasca, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Highland Park, Glencoe, Crestwood, Park Forest, Chicago (Austin, Polish Village, Mayfair, Sauganash, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, Little Village, Little Italy, Greek Town, West Town, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park, Clybourn Corridor, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Edgewater, Andersonville, Uptown), Evanston, Niles and Northbrook, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

Related blog posts:

Cook County Jury Finds Newborn’s Brachial Plexus Injury Occurred in the Absence of Medical Negligence

$250,000 Jury Verdict in Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury Case

$1 Million Jury Verdict for Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Caused by Excessive Force