SOUTH FLORIDA HOSPITAL HELD LIABLE FOR NEWBORN’S INJURIES
SOUTH FLORIDA — Susan* went into labor at home and felt she was going to deliver quickly, so she called EMS. Rather than going to the hospital she was scheduled to deliver at, EMS recommended her being ambulanced to the much-closer JFK since time was of the essence.
On the way to the hospital, EMS observed that her labor was progressing quickly, with concerns that her baby would be at risk for a “shoulder dystocia” – an Obstetric emergency where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during birth.
EMS radioed this information ahead of time to JFK, told this information to the JFK Labor & Delivery (“L&D”) nurses upon arrival, and gave them a folder with this information. When Susan arrived at JFK, the only on-call Obstetric doctor was on the other side of the hospital.
JFK failed to relay the information radioed in from EMS to the L&D unit, and the nurses failed on several accounts, including:
- To listen to the information and read the folder EMS told them.
- To properly assess Susan.
- To timely and completely provide information to the on-call doctor.
As Susan’s delivery started, the doctor still hadn’t arrived in the room. This led to tragic circumstances. The baby did have a shoulder dystocia, and because the doctor wasn’t there, the nurses were unable to make the medical maneuvers to relieve the dystocia. The nurse who delivered the baby never performed a shoulder dystocia baby before without a doctor present. Tragically, she pulled the baby’s head too hard, permanently damaging three nerves in the newborn’s neck. This failure to follow procedure resulted in the baby suffering what will be a lifelong disability of partial paralysis in his shoulder and arm.
JFK refused to admit fault, refusing to make any offer or settlement for our client, so Mr. Zoller and Mr. Hayden took the case to trial. After the facts were presented, the jury agreed that JFK was negligent in the delivery of Susan’s baby and awarded the child $1.06 million. That money will help with his future medical care, therapy, and accommodations.
“We are extremely proud to have obtained such a verdict to help this family. Nothing will restore the child’s arm back to normal but knowing this recovery will make his life more manageable is why we do the job we do,” said Mr. Zoeller. “The hospital refused to take responsibility for its negligent conduct, but the jury has spoken and rightly held them accountable.”