Not All Birth Injuries Are Medical Malpractice Says Christopher Mellino, a Lawyer in Cleveland
Cleveland, OH (Law Firm Newswire) January 24, 2014 – Sometimes things go wrong in the delivery room. These emergencies distinguish good doctors from bad.
Luckily, Olivia Lucas’ mother, Amber, landed an “amazing” doctor who remained calm when Olivia’s head became lodged behind Amber’s pelvic bone. Since Olivia’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her head and arm, depriving her of oxygen, the doctor had no time to waste and tugged the newborn’s left arm.
“She saved my baby’s life,” Amber told reporters.
Olivia does, however, suffer from a brachial plexus injury (also known as BPI or Erb’s palsy), which was diagnosed at six weeks of age. These injuries occur when nerves that control the hand, arm and shoulder are torn or stretched during birth. Usually only one arm is affected and symptoms may include: severe pain; the inability to move or feel anything in the entire arm, hand and shoulder; the ability to use the arm but not the fingers; or the ability to use the fingers but not the elbow or shoulder muscles. In severe cases, surgery is usually required.
Olivia underwent nerve graft surgery, using allograft, or processed cadaver nerves, when she was eight months old.
Amber told fox23.com that she never knew what Erb’s palsy was before giving birth to Olivia. Now, she raises Erb’s palsy awareness via family- and professional-portrait-filled slideshows on YouTube. These videos document incisions, infections and scapular winging, but they also celebrate milestones. In them, viewers can see the first time Olivia bends her arm, puts her fist in her mouth, rolls over or holds a cup.
“Could this birth have gone another way? Absolutely,” says Christopher Mellino, a birth injury attorney in Cleveland, who has won a $2.4 million shoulder dystocia lawsuit and a $4 million dollar wrongful death verdict against a doctor who allowed a mother and child to die by failing to diagnose and treat the woman’s infection, among many other cases. “In this case, the baby could’ve died of strangulation in the time it would’ve taken to prep the mother for an emergency C-section.”
Differentiating a bad outcome from medical malpractice can be difficult, which is why any parent who has questions should contact an attorney who specializes in birth injury lawsuits. Most firms, including Mellino Robenalt, offer free consultations.
“Tom Robenalt and I welcome any parent with brachial plexus or other birth injury concerns to call us,” says Mellino. His free guide, “Was It a Mistake? Your Ohio Medical Malpractice Questions Answered,” offers tips on how to find an attorney and what to ask. “It’s our job to walk you through your case and determine what went wrong,” he said.