Issue: Failure to diagnose breech presentation, cephalo-pelvic disproportion, etc and alleged negligent obstetric technique in delivery of the baby, resulting in brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s Palsy.
Such cases are usually very problematic in being able to prove breach of duty, in that impaction of the foetal shoulder in the birth canal can often be unforeseeable and it is imperative that delivery occur quickly before asphyxiation occurs. Proving breach of duty in failing to prevent a brachial plexus injury in such circumstances can also then be difficult.
Action: It is imperative to obtain quality expert evidence from a highly regarded practising O&G who is also able to address the technical issues and delivery techniques with clarity and persuasion. All cases have been settled once liability evidence has been obtained, and also with enough quantum evidence to establish the severity of the injury and extent of care and treatment requirements.
Outcome: A commercially sound result to all parties with avoidance of intensive trial preparation and attendance costs.