A Jackson County Circuit Court jury on Friday awarded $1 million to a 6-year-old girl whose shoulder nerves were ripped out during birth, which had led to a malpractice case against a Medford obstetrician.
“She’s got a severe, permanent injury,” said Elden Rosenthal, Gwendolyn Eichman’s Portland attorney with the firm of Greene and Devlin PC.
The jury found that Dr. Miguel Carbonell, a Medford obstetrician, was negligent in his handling of Gwendolyn’s delivery, Rosenthal said.
The jury in the courtroom of Judge Timothy Gerking also found that Asante, the operator of Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, was not negligent, Rosenthal said. The trial lasted three weeks.
Rosenthal said Gwendolyn was diagnosed with shoulder dystocia — a condition where the shoulders get stuck — prior to her birth. Her shoulder was pinned against her mother’s pubic bone. Doctors usually employ a series of techniques to minimize damage during delivery, Rosenthal said.
“The jury concluded Carbonell used excess traction in delivering the baby,” Rosenthal said.
Since her birth, Gwendolyn has undergone three surgeries, but she will have limited use of her left hand, Rosenthal said.
“It will have an impact on her life, but she’s a very intelligent young girl with a great attitude and great parents,” Rosenthal said.
The $1,012,000 settlement will be controlled by the court until Gwendolyn turns 18. Rosenthal said Gwendolyn’s family lives in Jackson County.
Attorneys for Carbonell and Asante could not be reached for comment late Friday.
According to court documents, attorneys for Carbonell argued the injuries resulted from maternal forces during child birth.
Carbonell, in court documents, stated Gwendolyn’s mother was admitted on Sept. 12, 2008, and labor progressed normally until Carbonell recognized the birth as a shoulder dystocia. Eichman was born later on the same date.
During testimony, Carbonell said no pressure was applied to the mother’s abdomen during delivery because it wasn’t appropriate during births with shoulder dystocia.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.