Mother of girl injured at birth is awarded $588,000 by jury

October 30, 1997|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

A jury in Baltimore Circuit Court awarded $588,000 yesterday to a Baltimore woman who sued her obstetrician for negligently delivering her child, costing the girl the use of her left arm.

Danielle Hill-Woodley, 29, of the 2000 block of Richglen Drive in the Woodlawn area of Baltimore County, and her daughter Eulysia Hill were awarded the sum by a jury of three men and three women after a weeklong trial before Judge Ellen M. Heller.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding that Dr. Murray D. Pearlman was negligent in his prenatal care of Hill-Woodley and his delivery of Eulysia at Sinai Hospital in Northwest Baltimore on Oct. 28, 1991.

Richard Guth, the lawyer for the mother and child, said Dr. Pearlman elected to perform a vaginal delivery.

Guth said that Dr. Pearlman should have realized that a Caesarean section was necessary because the mother, an administrative assistant for a Baltimore health insurer, was a diabetic.

Diabetics are known to have unusually large babies, and tests performed before the delivery indicated a large baby was due, Guth said.

When Eulysia was born -- weighing 11 pounds, 7 ounces -- her left shoulder got stuck after her head appeared. The child also stopped breathing, and Dr. Pearlman pulled excessively on the head and neck, and tore nerves from the spinal cord, Guth said.

The tearing permanently damaged the girl's left arm so that it hangs limp and useless from her side, Guth said.

Pearlman's lawyer said last night that his client would appeal to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Michael Sloneker, the defendant's lawyer, said the jury reached its verdict despite "overwhelming evidence" that the injuries were unforeseeable and that Pearlman provided adequate care.

Sloneker said obstetricians from Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Utah Medical Center testified that the evidence showed the child's injuries occurred before she was born.

"Both doctors testified that Dr. Pearlman and his partners appropriately evaluated and managed her pregnancy and that there was no way to predict this baby was going to weigh 11 pounds," Sloneker said.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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