Shoulder dystocia, a type of birth injury, is one of the most dangerous complications of vaginal delivery encountered by an obstetrician. To avoid shoulder dystocia, obstetricians must be familiar with the maneuvers used to effect delivery of impacted shoulders and must be prepared to institute these maneuvers immediately in a crisis situation.
Complications of Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia is a birthing complication in which the baby's shoulders are too large for the birth canal and subsequently become trapped behind the pubic bone after the delivery of the head. Complications from shoulder dystocia can cause a range of injuries to occur, such as a broken arm or clavicle, or the strain of the nerves traveling through the neck - a condition doctors call Brachioplexus Palsy. Another possible complication of shoulder dystocia is Erb's Palsy or Klumpke's Palsy.
Warning Signs of Shoulder Dystocia
In many cases, doctors can anticipate and prevent shoulder dystocia by monitoring early warning signs such as gestational diabetes, obesity in the mother or excessive weight gain during the pregnancy. Expectant mothers with a small pelvis, those who've previously given birth to a large baby, and those in post-term pregnancy are also at risk of having a child with shoulder dystocia.
In most instances, even if unforeseen complications arise, your doctor should be familiar with the methods necessary to ensure a healthy delivery and prevent shoulder dystocia. Despite the medical community's efforts to develop methods to ensure safe deliveries, 3 in 1000 births suffer an injury to the brachial plexus as a result of a shoulder dystocia. In many shoulder dystocia cases, medical negligence is to blame.
Shoulder Dystocia and Medical Negligence
Examples of medical negligence responsible for shoulder dystocia include:
- Failure to obtain a proper obstetrical history.
- Failure to check for or manage diabetes during pregnancy
- Failure to manage excessive weight gain during maternity
- Failure to assign qualified personnel to the delivery room
- Failure to offer the option of cesarean section
- Failure to manage shoulder dystocia
- Exerting pressure on the abdomen during birth, which actually worsens shoulder dystocia
- Exerting excessive force or traction on the head during delivery
- Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
Treatment of Shoulder Dystocia
Some shoulder dystocia injuries heal on their own and many children improve or recover by 3-4 months of age. More severe shoulder dystocia cases improve slowly over 18-21 months and by two years any recovery that will occur should have occurred. Treatment options include physical and occupational therapy and in some cases, surgery.
If you believe or want to find out if your child's shoulder dystocia, Erb's Palsy, Klumpke's Palsy, or Brachioplexus Palsy could have been prevented or was a result of medical malpractice, negligence, misdiagnosis, or not diagnosed at all, contact our birth injury attorneys.
When doctors, nurses, staff, and medical facilities fall below the minimum standard of skill and care to which their profession demands, medical malpractice and negligence is an unfortunate but likely result. At the Rasansky Law Firm, we question why these healthcare professionals failed to do everything possible to prevent your child's injuries. We regularly consult with Board Certified Obstetrician Gynecologists, Maternal Fetal Specialists, Neonatologists, and Pediatric Neurologists to determine whether your child's injuries should have been prevented.
Does your child suffer from symptoms of shoulder dystocia? Contact the Rasansky Law Firm online, or call our offices anytime at 1-800-Attorney (1-800-288-6763) to discuss your child's situation with our experienced shoulder dystocia attorneys. In the complimentary consultation, our attorneys will review your experiences and situation and provide you information regarding your legal rights, options, and responsibilities.