Injuries: Erb’s Palsy
Facts and Claim of Liability:
Infant plaintiff was born on February 2, 2009 at Defendant Hospital Kings County Hospital Center via vaginal delivery. She weighed 7 lbs 13 oz at birth.
Prior to giving birth, plaintiff mother had an uneventful pregnancy. She had no prenatal surgery, significant injuries or other illnesses; nor did she have blood changes. She also tested negative for urinary tract infection (UTI), although she tested positive for Group B streptococcus (GBS), and in her second month she developed a yeast infection, which was quickly cleared up with medication.
On February 2 at around 2:00 a.m., plaintiff mother began experiencing mild contractions. She called for an ambulance, and was transported to defendant hospital.
Plaintiff mother arrived at defendant hospital’s emergency room at around 3:00 a.m. She was sent to labor and delivery, where she was examined by a doctor and told to be 6 cm dilated. Hospital staff continued to monitor plaintiff mother throughout the night.
At 8:00 a.m., a doctor artificially ruptured her membranes (AROM). By 9:00 a.m., plaintiff mother told hospital staff that she was ready to push. Plaintiff mother recalls that part of the baby appeared, but that soon after the baby became stuck. A doctor stuck her hand in turned the baby around, and gave plaintiff mother an episiotomy. Shortly thereafter, at 9:48 a.m., infant plaintiff was born.
Infant plaintiff’s Apgar scores were 5 and 9 at 1 and 5 minutes, respectively. Plaintiff mother recalls that after plaintiff was dried and suctioned, infant plaintiff was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because there was something wrong with the way she was crying.
At noon, plaintiff mother’s husband told plaintiff mother that hospital staff had told him that the baby’s right arm had been dislocated during delivery.
The next day, on February 3, plaintiff mother visited infant plaintiff in the NICU. She noticed that the baby’s right arm was rigidly straight, and that the baby only moved her fingers.
On February 4, an X-ray revealed that there was a pulled muscle in the baby’s right shoulder. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff mother and infant plaintiff were discharged from the hospital.
Ultimately, infant plaintiff was diagnosed with residual right Erb’s palsy with signs of impaired right hand function, with the potential for impairment of bimanual hand function impacting on such activities of daily living as dressing and undressing.
Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald filed suit in Kings County Supreme Court, arguing that defendant hospital departed from good and accepted medical practice in the care of infant plaintiff in improperly applying fundal pressure, which resulted in serious and permanent injuries to infant plaintiff. Ultimately, Fitzgerald & Fitzgerald settled with defendant for a total of $200,000.00.