Case study: negligent care results in erbs’ palsy

Baby Owen

When Baby Owen was born at the local NHS maternity unit, no problems had been anticipated with the delivery. His mother was admitted a few days before the expected delivery date as she had gone into labour. 


During the delivery a “moderate” degree of shoulder dystocia occurred. According to Owen’s parents, the midwife present pulled really hard on the child’s head and arm, with her knee braced against the bed for extra leverage. They also claim the midwife didn’t alter the body position of the mother to make it easier to deliver the baby following the shoulder dystocia. 


Following the birth it was clear that Owen’s left shoulder was bruised and as a result he had obviously developed Erb’s Palsy. Owen had sustained serious injury to the brachial plexus (a network of nerves in the neck and shoulder) and is now considerably disabled with limited movement in the left arm. He had to undergo surgery at the age of two in an attempt to stabilise his shoulder.


The midwife, though, denied all these allegations, saying no traction was applied to the baby’s head, and that the shoulders were only delivered after placing the mother in the McRobert’s position. This is when the mother’s hips are flexed back onto her abdomen.

Expert investigation

However, experts investigating the claim agreed the McRobert’s manoeuvre can’t be performed without the help of another person to hold the mother’s legs. That being the case, they decided it was unlikely McRobert’s actually took place and that the baby’s shoulders could only have been delivered by traction to the head.  


JMW’s solicitors were successful in obtaining a large settlement for the family. 

Does your baby suffer from Erb's Palsy caused by medical negligence?

Contact JMW today either by our online enquiry form or by telephone on 0800 054 6512 and let us help you move forward with your claim.


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