Erb's Palsy claimed in med mal suit

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 8, 2007, 11:48pm

The parents of a child born with Erb's Palsy filed a medical malpractice suit against Diana Peterson, M.D. of Alton Multispecialists in Madison County Circuit Court March 7, claiming Peterson was negligent when delivering their baby.

Christy and Dennis Hartmann allege Peterson, an obstetrician-gynecologist, delivered their daughter Chrisden on March 13, 2004.

During the delivery, Peterson was allegedly negligent because she failed to use the proper methods of delivery for left shoulder dystocia and used too much pressure on the baby, the complaint states.

Erb's Palsy, or Brachial Plexus Injury, is a condition in which a newborn can move one arm but not the other.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), one or two of every 1,000 babies have this condition and most infants with Erb's will recover both movement and sensation in the affected arm without surgery.

Brachial plexus injuries in newborns usually occur during a difficult delivery, such as with a large baby, a breech presentation, or a prolonged labor, when the person assisting the delivery must exert some force to pull the baby from the birth canal, according to the AAOS.

The Hartmanns claim Peterson's negligence caused their baby to suffer pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, loss of a normal life and the loss of ability to earn wages.

They also claim Chrisden's injuries have forced them to incur reasonable and necessary medical expenses and other life-caring measures.

Represented by Thomas Falb of Alton, the Hartmanns are seeking damages in excess of $100,000, plus costs.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian.

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