Newborn Baby Suffers Arm Length Discrepancy After Complicated Hospital Treatment


newborn babyThis case involves the care of a male child born via cesarean section. After his birth, he was admitted into the Neonatal ICU at a hospital in South Carolina. In the weeks following, he manifested clinical signs and symptoms of infection. During his complicated and lengthy treatment at the hospital, the child manifested a humeral discrepancy with his left arm shorter than his right. The plaintiffs attorneys seek to understand how the permanent arm length discrepancy will affect his quality of life.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Can you opine on the child's limitations later on in life based on a physical disability to an upper extremity?
  • 2. What types of treatments/procedures will he need as he grows?
  • 3. What experience do you have working with children who have injuries to upper extremities?

Expert Witness Response E-006001

I have treated pediatric patients with arm length discrepancies in the past. It is an extremely rare situation. Even at Mayo clinic where I trained and where rare patients often present, I saw perhaps 4 patients like this over a period of 4-5 years and perhaps the same number in the 20 years since then while working in private practice. Given the very individualized nature of the condition, further understanding of the patient’s current interest/activities (which will be speculative at this young age) is required before rendering an opinion as to how it will it will impact quality of life in the future. I work with a variety of patients who have complex issues and routinely assess their condition and determine how they may be limited in the future. I am able to assess the child’s disability, therapy needs, future limitations, potential need for bracing/prosthesis, and general surgical procedures that may be required.

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