We Fight for You

Parental knowledge of risks to baby is important before procedure

| Jan 19, 2018 | Firm News

Texas childbirth comes with risks to both mother and baby. Sometimes, those risks are due to less-than-ideal pre-natal care. Other times, it is the result of medical malpractice by the delivering doctor. It may arise because of information a physician does not share with the patient or how the doctor performed the intended procedure.

Baby’s arm permanently injured in childbirth

As reported by USA Today, an obstetrician was the defendant in a lawsuit that alleged that he forcefully pulled a baby from the birth canal when its shoulder was stuck and preventing it from birth. The plaintiff’s argument was that the doctor pulled too hard on the baby, which caused the baby to suffer a permanently paralyzed arm due to nerve damage.

Specifically, the action tore two of the baby’s five nerves in his shoulder in half. The remaining nerves endured such severe stretching that they were no longer operational.

A lifetime of physical limitations

While subsequent surgeries helped increase the arm’s functioning, the now nine-year-old has many limitations. He cannot ride a bike due to the result on his wrist, which curls inward and makes him unable to steer. His arm is unable to reach his stomach, nor the back of his head, which makes him less competitive in his soccer activities. He has difficulty zipping up his pants. At rest, his fingers uncontrollably twitch and his injured harm is a few inches shorter than the other.

Failure to disclose risks of procedure to remove baby

In addition to the excess force the doctor used when pulling on the baby, the lawsuit also asserted that the physician failed to disclose to the parent the risks involved in trying to free the baby in that manner. Arguably, the parent could not fully consent to this form of birthing if she was unaware of the risks to the baby. Perhaps, had the parent known, she would have chosen another option if one was available, such as C-section.

A $3,000,000 verdict

The defense argued that the damage to the baby was the result of natural maternal forces. However, the jury returned a three-million-dollar verdict against the doctor. It was unclear if this suit would affect the doctor’s license.