A mother in Illinois has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the obstetrician who delivered her daughter, claiming that excessive force resulted in the child’s Erb’s palsy. The lawsuit against Chicago’s Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center was originally filed in Cook County Circuit Court, but was later transferred to federal court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The lawsuit claims that the mother was admitted to Mount Sinai on July 3, 2010. During the delivery of the woman’s daughter, shoulder dystocia occurred. This is a situation in which the baby’s shoulder is stuck behind the pelvic bone of the mother. According to the complaint, the doctor applied too much force in attempting to dislodge the baby, damaging the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a cluster of neck and shoulder nerves that control movement from the shoulder to the fingers. As a result of this nerve damage, the child now suffers from Erb’s palsy, which is a permanent weakness or paralysis of the hand or arm.
Erb’s palsy commonly results from the head and neck being pulled to the side simultaneously with the shoulders passing through the birth canal. The result is either partial or complete paralysis of the arm. There is also often a lack of sensation in the arm, and the circulatory system may fail to develop fully, leaving the body unable to properly regulate temperature in the arm during cold conditions.
According to the lawsuit, the doctor failed to follow established procedures and adhere to the proper protocol for delivery complications such as shoulder dystocia. The complaint alleges that this medical malpractice caused the girl’s injuries and disability.