When mother-to-be, Evelyn Gatlin, presented to the hospital to deliver her baby, she had no idea that following the delivery, her baby daughter, Morgan Vance, would be left with permanent paralysis in her left arm.
The obstetrician who delivered Morgan failed to recognize that Morgan had unusually large shoulders thus making it impossible for her to travel through the birth canal as would occur with a normal vaginal delivery.
The defendant, Dr. Fitz, failed to recognize Morgan had such large shoulders and literally “pulled” her through Evelyn’s pelvis causing nerve damage to Morgan’s left arm resulting in what is known as a brachial plexus injury.
The case proceeded to trial wherein the defense argued that Dr. Fitz did not breach the standard of care in failing to recognize that Morgan had unusually large shoulders and would not be able to proceed through a normal vaginal delivery. The Vance family argued to the jury that this condition should easily have been recognized and that had it been properly recognized, a C-section would have been performed thereby avoiding the severe and permanent injury to Morgan Vance.
After a 5-day trial and 11 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict finding that Dr. Fitz was negligent by failing to recognize and treat the condition commonly referred to as shoulder dystocia, thus resulting in Morgan’s permanet paralysis. The jurors found that proper compensation for Morgan’s permanent injury was One Million Dollars.