Girl Sues Her Mother's Obstetrician For 'Ruining Her Life' - Fair Complaint Or Whinger?<4 Aug 2011
Halina Jane Gillet was born in October of 1985, in Newcastle, which is located in northern NSW. The pregnancy was the fourth for her mother Marilyn Benson-Gillett, and she noticed that during this pregnancy, unlike the others, her unborn baby appeared to be larger.
When her obstetrician decided to induce Marilyn at 37 weeks, he opted to deliver Halina via a natural birth, despite Marilyn’s request of a caesarean. Although her obstetrician, Professor Jeffrey Robinson, is one of Australia’s most respected medical professionals, Halina sustained a birth related injury known as erb’s palsy, which is the result of a difficult birth.
Erb’s palsy is a nerve injury, which can affect the shoulder, arm and hand. It occurs when a newborn doesn’t come out of the birth canal easily, from either getting stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, or being too large for the mother’s pelvis, in either case, pulling is required to assist them out. If their heads are pulled too far to one side, shoulder dystocia, can occur, resulting in erb’s palsy.
In the event of this happening, most babies’ nerve’s repair themselves, and gain normal movement back. However, 20% of injury’s can’t be repaired on their own, and will require surgery to repair damaged nerves, or physical therapy to assist in movement later on in life. Even then, some will maintain arm damage all the way through their lives.
Halina was one of these rare cases that are still living with the effects of erb’s palsy, from birth. But instead of just getting on with life, and living with what she has been dealt, she is suing her mother’s obstetrician for negligence, because he didn’t do as her mother wished, and deliver via caesarean.
For such a case to even be possible, proceedings must begin before the child reaches 21. Now 25, Halina’s case began 5 years ago, with just enough time to scrape into the time constraints.
Now, I’m not saying that Halina’s life hasn’t been hard, and that what happened to her could’ve been prevented, but I do think that sometimes things in life ‘just happen’ and maybe her life was meant to be this way. And I don’t think taking down a well respected Professor will make her injury go away. Sure, it’ll make things easier financially for her, if she is successful, but I don’t think that what she is doing is right.
Erb’s palsy is preventable, through a number of different techniques. Such as; well planned out labour and birth procedures, good nutrition to ensure the foetus doesn’t become too large and having an early delivery, to prevent larger babies from growing to their full size.
Did you know that cerebral palsy can also ‘preventable’? Does this mean that everyone who has cerebral palsy should start taking their mothers obstetricians to court for malpractice? I think that sometimes in life, people just look for someone to blame, or to compensate them for their life.
I was born with multiple old fractures, which were sustained from inside my mother’s womb. My mum’s doctor tried to turn me while I was in the womb (before they established that I had Osteogenesis Imperfecta), which I’m positive would’ve caused most, if not all of the fractures. And when I was delivered by emergency caesarean, the doctor pulled me out of my mother’s stomach by my ankles, which resulted in further fractures to my ankles. To this day, my ankles are still crooked and would require complicated surgery to correct them, but I’m not about to start suing people! Like I said, some things in life ‘just happen’.
To view Halina’s story, as featured on The Daily Telegraph website, entitled – ‘Natural Birthing Ruined My Life’ – click here: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/natural-birthing-ruined-my-life-says-halina-jane-gillett/story-e6freuyi-1226106478272