The underlying medical malpractice action was filed by Plaintiffs, Tonya and Martin Roemmele, parents of Brianna Roemmele, against Defendants, Akron General Medical Center, Thomas Ruzics, M.D. and his medical group, Women’s Care OB/GYN, Inc. The suit involved the failure of defendants to provide appropriate medical care and treatment in the delivery of Brianna Roemmele.
In 1999, Tonya Roemmele became pregnant with Brianna and chose Thomas Ruzics, M.D. as her primary obstetrician and the physician who would deliver her daughter. On September 20, 1999, and over forty weeks into her pregnancy, Tonya was admitted to the labor and delivery department of Akron General Medical Center. At approximately 3:40 p.m., Dr. Ruzics entered the Roemmele’s room and introduced Dr. Patton, a second year resident and employee of Akron General Medical Center. According to Tonya and Martin Roemmele, Dr. Ruzics informed the Roemmeles that Dr. Patton would be observing the delivery. At approximately 5:20 p.m., Tonya was completely dilated and instructed to begin pushing. Subsequent to the delivery of Brianna’s head, Dr. Patton attempted to complete the delivery. However, after the delivery of Brianna’s head, a shoulder dystocia was encountered (a condition where the infants shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone). Rather than attempt various appropriate maneuvers to dislodge Brianna’s shoulder, Dr. Patton began pulling and utilizing excessive traction. After Dr. Patton was unable to accomplish the delivery of Brianna’s shoulders and body, Dr. Ruzics intervened, performed various maneuvers to dislodge Brianna’s shoulder and completed the delivery. Brianna was born, weighing 11 Ibs. and 1 oz., with bruising to her face and a “dangling right arm”.
Brianna was diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, a condition where the cervical nerve roots are stretched or torn, and the nerve bundle in the baby’s armpit, (the brachial plexus), which innervates the arm, is deprived of necessary nerve function. This condition has left Brianna with severe and permanent paralyses to her right arm and hand.