The Rockney Case
An uncomplicated full term pregnancy ended in a routine vaginal birth in a community hospital, but the baby’s shoulder became lodged during delivery and was improperly released. By pressing too high on the mother’s upper abdomen (fundal pressure) and applying too much tension (pulling) on the child’s neck, the child’s clavicle was fractured and the brachial plexis nerve was stretched and injured.
The improper birth technique resulted in permanent Erb’s palsy (nerve injury), causing limited movement to right arm and shoulder. The minor-plaintiff suffers limited range of motion and weakness in her right shoulder and arm as a result of the nerve injury and related shoulder contractures.
With therapy, she has regained some function of the right arm and shoulder, but retains limits in rotation, extension and strength.