Cheryl Reid, indiv. and as m/n/g of Robert Reid II v. County of Nassau and Dr. Catherine Goring
Type of Injury
CHILDBIRTH – SHOULDER DYSTOCIA CAUSES ERB’S PALSY AND BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY
X/12-1 MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CHILDBIRTH SHOULDER DYSTOCIA CAUSES ERB’S PALSY AND BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY
Cheryl Reid, indiv. and as m/n/g of Robert Reid II v. County of Nassau and Dr. Catherine Goring 984/91 10-day trial Verdict 9/8/92 Judge James Brucia, Nassau Supreme
VERDICT: $3,020,000 (6/0). Breakdown: $20,000 for past pain and suffering; $2,000,000 for future pain and suffering; $1,000,000 for diminution of future earnings. Post-trial motions were denied. Jury: 2 male, 4 female.
Pltf. Atty: Stanley A. Landers, Kew Gardens
Deft. Atty: Clifford A. Bartlett of Bartlett, McDonough & Monahan, Garden City
Facts: On 9/19/90, Pltf., age 37, went into labor with her fourth child at Nassau County Medical Center. The infant’s head crowned, but his right shoulder became caught on Pltf.’s pelvic bone. Deft. Dr. Goring, a fourth-year resident who was handling the delivery, applied lateral traction to release the shoulder. Pltf. contended that Deft. used excessive force, resulting in a brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy.
Pltf. contended that Defts. should have known that she was predisposed to shoulder dystocia, given her history of high birth weight babies. Her third child weighed 9 lbs. at birth, and Pltf. claimed that Defts. knew that this child would weigh more than 9 lbs. Pltf.’s expert contended that the probability of shoulder dystocia increases after repeated deliveries of large babies.
Pltf.’s obstetrical expert contended that the delivery was mismanaged . He testified that after the infant’s head appeared and Pltf. was fully dilated, pressure should have been applied to her abdomen. He contended that the child’s head should not have been touched. Pltf.’s examining pediatric neurologist testified that the infant’s injuries resulted from excessive lateral force to his head.
Pltf.’s vocational rehabilitation expert testified that the child would have a diminution of earnings of approximately $3,000 per year for life. Pltf.’s economist testified that the child’s loss of earnings over the course of his working life was approximately $1,700,000.
Deft.’s obstetrician testified that Erb’s palsy can occur without malpractice, and that such an injury does not immediately indicate negligence. He contended that Defts.’ care was proper. Deft.’s pediatric neurologist conceded that the injury was permanent. Offer: $200,000; demand: $1,100,000; amount asked of jury: $5,700,000. Jury deliberation: 4 hours. Pltf. Experts: Dr. George Farmakides, ob-gyn, Mineola; Dr. Barbara Stewart, examining pediatric neurologist, Forest Hills; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation expert; Dr. Seymour Barcun, Ph.D., economist, Edison, New Jersey. Deft. Experts: Dr. Richard Hausknecht, ob- gyn, Manhattan; Dr. Robert Gould, pediatric neurologist, Great Neck.