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Medical Verdicts

Was fetal presentation compound?

April 2005 · Vol. 17, No. 4

<court>Westchester County (NY) Supreme Court</court>

Shortly after discharge following delivery and tubal ligation, a woman brought her newborn infant to a pediatrician. The physician suggested she take the child to an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy. Surgery was required to repair the child’s cosmetic deformities, but full range of motion could not be recovered.

In suing, the plaintiff claimed the Ob/Gyn failed to recognize a compound presentation—which was noted by a delivery nurse—and applied excessive traction to the head and brachial plexus. She claimed the physician was further negligent in failing to recognize the injury.

The mother noted that, due to her tubal ligation procedure, she saw the infant very little prior to discharge, and only when the child was wrapped in a blanket. Thus, she did not notice any abnormalities before her release.

The obstetrician denied a compound presentation, maintained delivery was uncomplicated, and contended the child was in good condition at discharge.

  • The jury returned a defense verdict.

The cases in this column are selected by the editors of OBG Management from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts, with permission of the editor, Lewis Laska, of Nashville, Tenn ( While there are instances when the available information is incomplete, these cases represent the types of clinical situations that typically result in litigation.

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