November 15, 2006Birth injury lawsuit in Ohio jury brings $1.1M award

Eight-year-old Madelyn Instone suffered a permanently paralyzed right arm at birth. Her parents filed suit against the doctor who delivered her and won $1.1 million in a jury award in Wood County, Ohio. Madelyn’s mother and father sued the late Dr. Raymond Hoag, his obstetrics practice and his estate.

The girl was born in June 1998 in Wood County Hospital. The delivery was to be done by two midwives, Bonnie Fintel and Amy Smith. Complications developed, so Dr. Hoag was brought in to take over.

Jim Casey, Madelyn’s medical malpractice attorney, alleged that the injury happened when Dr. Hoag damaged the nerves in her right arm while pulling her head from the birth canal. This led to dystocia, a condition in which the shoulders do not allow a smooth delivery.

Dystocia affects about one in every 1,000 births. When it happens, actions can be taken to avoid complications. Casey said Dr. Hoag maneuvered the fetus before starting to pull, reversing the normal procedure.

Judge Robert Pollex, who presided over the case, says the birth injury verdict was the largest he has seen in 21 years on the bench.

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