In 2014, Monica Broughton filed a lawsuit against the doctor who delivered her son six years earlier. Amari Broughton-Fleming, now nine years old, suffered nerve damage during birth. During his delivery – which was induced – Amari’s shoulder became trapped behind his mother’s pelvic bone. The doctor dislodged the arm by tugging on the infant’s head. Following Amari’s birth, doctors discovered that his right arm was paralyzed, and that some of the nerve damage was permanent.
Multiple surgeries have improved Amari’s condition, but he still has difficulty with even the most basic tasks, such as zipping his pants, riding a bike, and playing sports. Some of his fingers twitch when his arm is at rest, and the damaged arm is four inches shorter than its healthy counterpart. In addition to the physical challenges, Amari has also suffered emotional trauma. “He asks if his arm is ever going to be normal,” said Broughton. “He wants it to grow.”
A pediatric neurologist diagnosed the permanent nerve damage, saying that two of the five main nerves had been torn in half. Broughton claims that the nerve damage is the result of her doctor’s negligence. She believes that the OB-GYN’s forceful pulling of her son’s head caused the damage, and that he never told her about the potential risks of such a procedure. Apparently, the New Castle County, Delaware jury agreed with Broughton, because they awarded her $3 million. A MA birth injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation you deserve if medical negligence harmed you or your child.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
When birth injuries are life-altering, juries are often quite sympathetic to the victim(s). The following birth injuries are commonly linked to medical negligence:
- Brachial plexus injury: Also known as Erb’s palsy or Klumpke’s palsy, this birth injury occurs in about one out of every 1,000 births. In many cases, this injury is the result of improper practices during labor and delivery. Nerve damage can be minor and can heal on its own, or nerves can be completely torn from their root, resulting in total or partial paralysis.
- Cerebral palsy: This permanent condition is characterized by impaired movement and motor skills. It may be caused by oxygen deprivation or trauma during labor.
- Premature birth and neural tube disorders can occur due to overdosing with folic acid, a supplement commonly given to pregnant women.
- Cerebral ischemia (reduced blood flow) can lead to brain damage in minutes. This condition can be caused by maternal overmedication, infection, and shoulder dystocia. A Boston birth injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if your child has been injured due to medical negligence.
- Cephalohematoma (bleeding between the skull and brain) is often caused by improper use of forceps and other tools used to forcefully extract an infant. Fortunately, this condition usually heals on its own with time.
- Spinal cord injuries: These are significantly more rare than the other birth injuries mentioned. Although spinal cord injuries involve varying degrees of cord disruption, most are quite serious. Spinal cord injuries may result in total paralysis, and even death. Trauma during labor, often involving breech births, is usually a factor in this type of birth injury.