An Iowa jury has awarded $1.3 million to a couple who filed a birth injury lawsuit against the doctor who delivered their daughter, claiming that he failed to diagnose that her shoulders were stuck during delivery, resulting in a brachial plexus injury.
The complaint was filed by Alan and Larysa Asher, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, against Dr. Anthony Onuigbo, alleging that the doctor failed to recognize that their daughter’s shoulder was lodged in place during delivery in November 2006, resulting in permanent injuries when he used excessive traction to deliver her.
Also known as shoulder dystocia or Erb’s palsy, a brachial plexus injury can occur if an infant becomes stuck in the birth canal and nerves in the baby’s shoulder become damaged, either from pressure while being stuck or due to the doctor using too much force to deliver the infant.
As a result of a injury to the brachial plexus nerves, a child can be diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and suffer permanent limitations on the use of their arm.
According to allegations raised at trial, the Asher’s daughter now has limited use of her left arm and has to undergo physical therapy to prevent her condition from worsening as a result of the brachial plexus damage suffered during the delivery.
Following a trial that began on July 5, a Black Hawk County District Court jury awarded the couple $1.314 million overall, including $550,000 for lost future earnings, $380,000 for the daughter’s permanent injuries, $258,000 for pain and suffering and $126,000 to the parents for loss of childhood consortium.