Family wins nearly 5 million dollars in birth injury lawsuit

A family was awarded more than $4.8 million in a medical malpractice case arising from a birth injury that occurred over a decade ago.

Guerline Cherenfant Jean, Loheirson Jean and their 14-year-old daughter filed the lawsuit in 2004 against a Fort Lauderdale midwife and doctor. Circuit Judge Michele Towbin Singer presided over the five-day trial in Broward County Circuit Court.

According to the complaint, midwife Karen Saver caused a permanent brachial plexus injury to their daughter during her delivery in September 2001 at Broward Health Medical Center. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that extends from the spine to the shoulder and entire arm.

The plaintiffs alleged Saver applied excessive pressure to the baby’s head after encountering shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone during childbirth. It is the doctor’s responsibility to carefully release the shoulder to ensure the newborn does not suffer permanent damage.

The teenager still requires medical attention due to the tearing of her brachial plexus nerves. She has a 4-inch scar on her neck after having to undergo major surgery. In addition, the girl’s right arm is shorter than the left and does not function properly.

The lawsuit also accused Dr. Michael Lewis of failing to supervise Saver and take over the mother’s care. The jury assigned 60 percent of the liability to Saver and 40 percent to Lewis. The daughter was awarded $3 million for pain and suffering and $300,000 for medical bills. Her parents received $750,000 each for loss of consortium. The mother was also awarded $21,000 for lost wages.

It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If you or your child was injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik to learn more about your rights.