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Family awarded $1.8 million for birth injury

Birth injuries are among the most disturbing instances of medical malpractice because they impact individuals at the beginning of their lives. There are many serious consequences that can arise out of a birth injury including disabilities such as cerebral palsy which can require a lifetime of medical care.

One family was recently awarded $1.8 million after their daughter’s arm nerves were ripped during delivery. The daughter’s arm is now paralyzed and she will likely never be able to use it anymore. The parents say that the doctor made several crucial mistakes which caused the birth injury, including using an unnecessary vacuum to help the child through the birth canal.

The damage to the child’s arm was caused when the baby’s shoulder became stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone and the doctor decided to pull the baby’s head in response.

“She panicked and she pulled,” one of the family’s attorneys said. “What you’re never, ever supposed to do is pull downward on the baby’s head. This case shows why. Three nerves were ripped out and two nerves were ruptured in half.”

Doctors are trained as to what the proper standard of care is for deliveries and this case illustrates the consequences of a doctor’s decision to breach his duty of care to a patient. The child now has a severely disabled left arm that is essentially paralyzed save for a few twitches of movement in her hands. The child is now beginning daycare and trying to understand why she is different than the other kids.

Source: World-Herald, “$1.8 million awarded in birth injury,” Todd Cooper, Nov. 24, 2011

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