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Significant six-figure settlement for Erb’s Palsy client who was injured during her delivery

Medical negligence specialist lawyers settle case for client whose birth was mishandled

Doctor holding newborn baby: istock

8 April 2013

Clinical negligence partner Sally Jean Nicholes, assisted by solicitor Angharad Vaughan, has settled a claim for negligent medical treatment for her client who was injured during her birth and has been left with Erb’s Palsy

What is Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is caused by damage to the Brachial Plexus and is usually the result of a birth injury.  The condition can affect one, or all five, primary nerves that control movement and feeling in an arm.  The paralysis can be total, depending on how many of the primary nerves have been damages, or partial. In some cases improvement can be achieved by surgery.

Sally Jean’s client, Mrs R, was pregnant with her fourth child, her previous children having been born by normal vaginal delivery. During her pregnancy, Mrs R suffered from gestational diabetes and was expected to have a large baby.  It was decided that she would be delivered by caesarean section. Mrs R went into labour earlier than expected, but despite having agreed with her consultant that she should be delivered by caesarean section, and requesting this several times during her long labour, the doctors made her continue to a vaginal delivery.

Mrs R was able to deliver her baby’s head but the baby then became stuck, which is an obstetric emergency, “shoulder dystocia”. The delivery team failed to carry out the necessary steps to deal with the emergency correctly and in the process of delivery, caused the baby permanent nerve damage.

Mrs R’s baby (K) was born in poor condition and weighed over 5kgs. Following the delivery K was diagnosed with a right-sided Erb’s Palsy injury having suffered injury to three of the cervical nerves.

Sally Jean successfully argued that the care that Mrs R had received was substandard.  In particular she argued that staff at the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust:
 
  • Failed to correctly assess the correct weight of K based on the evidence of ultrasound scans
  • Failed to discuss the risk of shoulder dystocia with Mrs R
  • Inappropriately administered syntocinon, a drug used to stimulate uterine contractions, during Mrs R’s labour
  • Failed to deliver by caesarean section when it became apparent that progress in labour was delayed
  • Failed to deliver K, a baby with shoulder dystocia, to an appropriate standard of care and in accordance with National Guidelines in place to deal with such deliveries.

K has undergone corrective surgery which was only partially successful. K has had years of physiotherapy and numerous consultations with medical practitioners but has permanent scarring and the restricted use of her right arm.

Croydon Health Services NHS Trust refused to admit liability but after a round table meeting, Leigh Day was able to secure a six figure sum of compensation to enable K to obtain the therapy and equipment needed to help manage the effects of the paralysis.

Specialist Erb’s Palsy solicitors

The clinical negligence team at Leigh Day has a high level of expertise and experience in bringing claims for compensation on behalf of clients who have suffered Erb’s Palsy as a result of mismanaged obstetric and midwifery care.  The team, one of the largest specialist clinical negligence teams in the UK, has successfully settled many six-figure claims for clients.  If you would like to speak to us about a potential claim relating to Erb’s Palsy please contact us on 020 7650 1200.

Information was correct at time of publishing. See terms and conditions for further details.

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