Shoulder Dystocia

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Shoulder dystocia is a specific, potentially devastating type of dystocia (difficult birth) in which a baby's shoulder has trouble getting past the mother's pelvis during the delivery. When this happens, the mother and physician sometimes become anxious, which can lead to poor decision-making. Unfortunately, some doctors get caught up in the moment and apply excessive pressure to the baby's head hoping to free its shoulder quickly and easily. This can lead to serious health consequences for the baby including partial paralysis or even death.

If your child suffered an injury from shoulder dystocia and you feel it may have been the result of medical malpractice, please contact us today for a FREE consultation with an experienced birth injury attorney. We can investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, inform you of your legal rights and options, and help you recover compensation for your losses.

Medical Malpractice and Shoulder Dystocia

Medical professionals must take the proper precautions to help prevent injuries in shoulder dystocia cases. Even though shoulder dystocia is rare, there are several risk factors that should be addressed to minimize the chances of injury. These include:

  • Maternal obesity
  • Short stature of mother
  • Mother with unusual pelvic shape or size
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Large baby

Doctors should also be aware that assisted births such as those with forceps or vacuums also put the child at greater risk of shoulder dystocia and should proceed accordingly. The failure to take these factors into account may constitute medical malpractice.

A doctor may also exhibit negligence during birth if he applies too much pressure to the baby's head to try to free its shoulder. This can result in broken or fractured bones, Erb's palsy, and/or hypoxia (lack of oxygen), which can lead to permanent neurological damage, and even death.

Shoulder Dystocia and the Law

Doctors are required to handle medical emergencies such as shoulder dystocia calmly and effectively. If a doctor fails to do this and it results in serious injuries such as those mentioned above, it can be considered medical malpractice and the doctor may be held liable for the damages.

Contact An Attorney Near You 

If your child has suffered an injury as a result of shoulder dystocia, please contact us today for a complimentary case evaluation by an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can determine if you have an actionable lawsuit on your hands. You may be able to recover compensation for the injuries, pain, suffering, medical expenses, and other damages you and your family have incurred.

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