Articles Posted in Erb’s Palsy

It is no secret that thousands of American patients die or are permanently and seriously injured by medical providers. More than 250,000 Americans die in hospitals every year due to medical errors. That staggering number makes deaths in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care centers the third most common cause of death in the United States. The number of Americans who die because of the negligent errors made by medical providers is higher than those who die because of respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the causes of the deaths are not isolated to one common medical practice area.

The Johns Hopkins research involves a comprehensive analysis of four large studies. According to a report a year ago by the Washington Post, the Johns Hopkins report took into account studies from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality between 2000 to 2008. The calculation of 251,000 deaths in a year amounts to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.
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In June 1991, Amanda Eckstein was born at Good Samaritan Hospital and delivered by defendant and obstetrician, Martin Gallo, M.D. In the plaintiff’s complaint, it was alleged that Dr. Gallo should have ordered a Cesarean section rather than a vaginal delivery with forceps. Ms. Eckstein alleged that there was evidence of her fetal distress on the fetal monitor strips, which should have prompted Dr. Gallo to order the C-section.

However, with the vaginal delivery, Amanda’s shoulder was hung up and caused shoulder dystocia, which lasted for approximately 5 minutes. Shoulder dystocia occurs in the delivery room when a child’s head is delivered, but the shoulder gets caught on the mother’s pelvis. Amanda was born without a heart rate and no respiratory rate for more than 5 minutes.

It was contended by Amanda that she had been without oxygen and suffered a permanent brachial plexus injury/Erb’s palsy to her left shoulder because of the doctor’s negligence. Erb’s palsy is nerve damage or resulting weakness to the baby’s upper group of the arm’s nerves.

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A Cook County jury awarded $3,270,000 in a Chicago birth injury lawsuit. The verdict was against both the delivering obstetrician and her physicians’ group, both of which the jury found responsible for the brachial plexus injuries to the 11 lb. baby.

The infant’s 33 year-old mother had undergone two previous vaginal deliveries, and had experienced a relatively uneventful pregnancy. However, both of those two prior deliveries were of babies who weighed around 8 lbs., which is relatively large for a petite woman like the plaintiff’s mother. One of the claims made by the plaintiff’s attorneys in the Chicago birth injury lawsuit was that a cesarean section should have been recommended and performed due to the baby’s higher weight; he weighted 11 lbs. at birth.

The mother’s prenatal care was handled by Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group, which is affiliated with Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital. While her prenatal care was relatively uneventful, she did gain 58 lbs. during the course of her delivery, which was relatively high considering that the mother was only 5’2″. Again, plaintiff’s attorneys in her Illinois birth injury case alleged that there should have been indications that the baby was going to be large and potentially difficult to deliver vaginally.

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