$1,150,000 Settlement in Birthing Injury Lawsuit
On November 27, 2012, the Honorable Elizabeth Budzinski approved the settlement of a medical malpractice action brought on behalf of A. Moore, a minor, for injuries she suffered during her birth at Westlake Community Hospital. The lawsuit was filed against Jean Alexandre, M.D. and Westlake Community Hospital. The total value of the settlement was $1,150,000. The minor Plaintiff was represented by Todd A. Smith and Sean M. Houlihan of Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P.
A. Moore’s mother, Minerva Urbina, presented to Westlake Community Hospital to give birth. Dr. Jean Alexandre was her obstetrician. After what was termed a difficult delivery, A. Moore was born full term. During the delivery, Dr. Alexandre encountered shoulder dystocia, an acute obstetrical emergency where A. Moore’s right shoulder became entrapped upon her mother’s public synthesis bone.
Upon encountering the shoulder dystocia, Dr. Alexandre and Nurse Marianne Grundler instructed Minerva to continue aggressively pushing. Two additional nurses, Nurses Kimberly Moten and Chang Jung, arrived in the delivery suite. Dr. Alexandre and Nurse Grundler continued to instruct Minerva to aggressively push and A. Moore was eventually delivered with bruising to her right shoulder and forehead, swelling and decreased right arm movement. A. Moore was subsequently diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury to her right arm.
Plaintiff’s counsel argued that A. Moore’s brachial plexus injury was caused by the negligence of Dr. Alexandre during the delivery. Specifically, Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Dr. Alexandre was negligent and deviated from the acceptable standard of care in instructing Minerva to continue to aggressively push after encountering shoulder dystocia; by failing to intervene and/or prevent the application of fundal pressure by the nursing staff in the presence of shoulder dystocia; and by applying excessive lateral traction A. Moore’s head during delivery. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that these deviations caused and/or contributed to A. Moore’s permanent brachial plexus injury.