Birth Injury Malpractice Lawsuit in Carroll County

Wroten v. Carroll Hospital Center, Inc.

birthinjurycomplicationsThis is a birth injury malpractice lawsuit filed by a woman in Carroll County after her baby was diagnosed with right Erb's Palsy due to the delivery methods employed by defendants. Filed on March 6, 2017, it is the 112th medical malpractice case in Maryland in 2017.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff, a 28-year-old woman, goes to Carroll Hospital Center, in Carroll County, at 38 3/7 weeks pregnant. She is in labor and is admitted to the hospital under defendant doctor's care. The next morning, her baby is born via spontaneous vaginal delivery with the use of a vacuum device.

However, when the infant is admitted to the nursery, she is observed to have a flaccid right arm. She is diagnosed with right Erb's Palsy, and is in an injured and debilitated condition when she is discharged home.

The plaintiff claims that during the time of delivery, shoulder dystocia was encountered due to the defendant's failure to use the appropriate maneuvers and their failure to avoid excessive traction during the delivery. Due to the injury, the child had to be seen at a tertiary medical center to receive specialized care and treatment, including years of physical therapy.

Additional Comments
  • This case appears to be relatively simply as far as birth injury cases go. The issue is whether the doctor applied excessive traction. It is well-documented throughout medical literature, and well-known in obstetrical practice that permanent brachial plexus injuries are caused by excess lateral traction applied to a baby. To apply extensive traction to deliver the baby risks stretching, tearing or avulsing the nerves which come from the spinal cord to the arms, hands, and shoulder and can cause impaired function of the arm, shoulder, and hand as occurred in this case
  • There is one exception. If three maneuvers are attempted, and five minutes has passed since the delivery challenge, a doctor may use excessive traction to try to avoid oxygen deprivation and save the child's life. That does not appear to be an issue in this case.
  • The problem in some of these cases is that it is like red light/green light case. The doctor simply says I did not apply excessive traction and this type of injury can occur in the absence of negligence.
  • Three techniques are employed when there is a shoulder dystocia problem like the one this child faced. The first, the Woods maneuver, places pressure on the anterior surface of the posterior shoulder. The doctor rotates the child through the pelvis almost like a screw. The second, the Rubin maneuver, is the opposite move. In this procedure, the doctor adduces the baby's shoulders by pushing the most readily available shoulder towards the baby's chest. Finally, in the Zavanelli maneuver, the baby's head is replaced into the birth canal and a c-section is quickly done. Plaintiffs' argument is had these standard maneuvers been employed instead of excessive traction, this child would not have sustained a brachial plexus injury.
Jurisdiction
  • Carroll County
Defendants
  • An OB/GYN
  • Carroll Health Group, LLC, Carroll OB/GYN Associates
  • Carroll Hospital Center, Inc.
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Carroll County Hospital Center
Negligence
  • Failure to accomplish the birth without using excessive force and traction
  • Failed to utilize the appropriate maneuvers
  • Failed to avoid the use of excess traction during delivery
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Richard L. Luciani, M.D. - board certified in obstetrics and gynecology; associated with Overlook Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center
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