Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Results in $1M Jury Award

An Illinois mother has been awarded $1 million in a medical malpractice lawsuits against an obstetrician over a birth injury that left her daughter with disabling paralysis in her shoulder known as Erb’s palsy

The case was filed by Jamie Rae in August 2012, alleging that her daughter suffered nerve root damage and a brachial plexus injury due to medical mistakes by Dr. James Dalla Riva at the time of her birth in March 2011.

According to allegations raised in the Erb’s palsy lawsuit, the doctor was medically negligent for failing to conduct a Caesarian section to deliver the girl, who was 9 pounds, 2 ounces. The doctor attempted several maneuvers to deliver the child vaginally, when her right shoulder began to emerge first, followed by her left. Following the delivery, the left arm was found to be floppy and showed signs of the permanent disability.

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Erb’s Palsy involves shoulder paralysis caused by permanent nerve damage at birth, which limits the use of the arm throughout a child’s life. In many cases the injury is linked to medical mistakes or neglect during deliver, occurring when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the mother’s pelvic bone and doctors do not take the proper steps to address the problem.

The lawsuit claims that in this case, the doctor applied excessive downward traction on the little girl’s head while she was being delivered. The doctor’s attorneys tried to argue that the injury was due to the mother pushing and natural forces of labor.

A Madison County jury agreed with the family, awarding $516,500 for future medical care for her daughter, now three. In addition, they awarded her $116,500 for disfigurement, $116,500 for disability, $116,500 for past and future pain and suffering, and $134,000 for past medical expenses.

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