A Dallas doctor’s illegal drug use probably caused a birth injury – but the family that has been harmed by his mistakes could never see justice.
William Stockton was born in 1989 after a difficult labor. His mother, Debbie Stockton, was being treated by Dallas Doctor Howard Offenbach, an obstetrician with a crippling prescription drug habit that made him unable to properly perform his job. When William’s arm became trapped under Stockton’s pelvic bone, the doctor was too drugged to make a correct medical decision. William suffered severe nerve damage in his arm – a birth injury that still affects him. His arm is atrophied and he has a limited range of motion.
Years later, Debbie discovered that Dr. Offenbach had checked himself into a drug treatment program less than a week after delivering William – and that he had been regularly using Valium and hydrocodone multiple times daily during the time of Stocton’s birth injury. The family filed a Dallas medical malpractice lawsuit – but Offenbach had disappeared after he lost his medical license in 2000 for his abuse of drugs.
Because Stockton failed to serve Offenbach the appropriate legal papers, some say that the family lost their chance at justice. Others say that they shouldn’t be punished for failing at an impossible task of finding a missing doctor. Sadly, Debbie passed away from cancer last year and William, now 20 years old, has taken over the case. The Dallas birth injury case has now reached the Texas Supreme Court, who has yet to issue a ruling on the Dallas medical malpractice case.