Derry family gets $2.3 million in malpractice case

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) – A Derry family has won a $2.3 million malpractice award because of injuries their daughter suffered during birth.

Derek and Melissa O’Donnell sued Parkland Medical Center in Derry, two doctors and employees of Progressive Women’s Healthcare. They maintain their daughter, Ashley, suffered nerve damage during a complicated delivery two years ago that means she’ll probably never have full use of her right arm.

According to the complaint, the doctors did not obtain medical records showing that O’Donnell had previous childbirth complications and did not take precautions after being told of the complications.

The defendants said the doctor who delivered the couple’s first child did not respond to their request for the records and that the mother did not report the earlier complications.

They sympathize with the family because of their daughter’s disability, but “we disagree with the verdict,” said their lawyer, Marc Scheer. The defendants are still reviewing the March 25 verdict for a possible appeal, he said. The trial was heard in Rockingham County Superior Court.

When complications became evident during childbirth, Ashley’s shoulder became stuck in Melissa’s pelvis _ a condition known as shoulder dystocia _ one of the doctors sought to continue the vaginal delivery by “pulling and twisting forcefully” on Ashley’s head, and later directed a nurse to press down on O’Donnell’s abdomen, according to court documents. The nurse at one point “crawled on top of Melissa O’Donnell and laid her knee and lower leg forcefully” across her abdomen, the documents said.

The O’Donnells contend that the traumatic delivery left Ashley unable to use her upper right arm and in need of additional surgeries.