Iowa Family Wins Lawsuit Against Doctor for Botched Childbirth

Iowa Family Wins Lawsuit Against Doctor for Botched ChildbirthA Cedar Falls, Iowa, family has been awarded $1.3 million from a lawsuit that alleged that a doctor caused injuries during childbirth, reports the WCF Courier. Jurors spent just five hours deliberating before awarding the money to Alan and Larysa Asher.

The lawsuit claimed that Dr. Anthony Onuigbo, a physician with OB-GYN Specialists, did not realize that the baby's shoulder was stuck during childbirth, causing the daughter to have permanent injuries to the brachial plexus and limited use of her arm. The suit alleges that with techniques to remove the shoulder or by performing a C-section, those injuries could have been avoided.

The doctor's defense team argued that the injuries were a result of labor and nothing else.

The lawsuit was filed in 2007, but the trial did not start until July 5. Jurors included several distinctions within the settlement, including $550,000 for loss of future earnings, $380,000 for lost of full mind and body and $258,000 for pain and suffering.

The baby's physical issues center around an injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that connect the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, damage to those nerves may cause limp or paralyzed arms, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand or wrist, or a lack of feeling in the arm or hand.

Some brachial plexus injuries heal without treatment after three to four months after birth, but others that involve avulsion and rupture have little chance for recovery unless surgery was performed promptly after the injury. Recovery also depends on whether it was a neuroma or neuropraxia injury, as neuropraxia injuries tend to allow for 90 to 100 percent of function to return. Physical therapy can also aid in the healing process.