Shoulder Dystocia Lawyers
Our firm of California Shoulder Dystocia Lawyers has successfully handled many cases involving injuries resulting from shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia is considered an obstetrical emergency requiring the skillful and timely intervention of the healthcare provider. Improper management or treatment of shoulder dystocia can result in devastating injury to both mother and child.
WHAT IS SHOULDER DYSTOCIA?
Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency occurring when the fetus’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery, preventing the normal delivery of the baby’s body. When the shoulders fail to deliver spontaneously, both mother and baby are threatened with serious injury. Failure to identify this dangerous situation or to act quickly and carefully deliver the baby can result in severe injuries to the baby including permanent brain damage and brachial plexus injury.
SHOULDER DYSTOCIA RISK FACTORS
Risk factors for shoulder dystocia include fetal macrosomia and maternal diabetes and obesity. An operative delivery involving the use of forceps and/or a vacuum can also increase the risk of shoulder dystocia. Other factors include a pregnancy that has gone beyond full term, a baby with a body that is large in proportion to its head, or a prior maternal history of births involving shoulder dystocia.
Prevention is the best strategy for managing shoulder dystocia. If babies at risk for shoulder dystocia are identified early, early intervention such as a cesarean section can be planned in advance. As delivery progresses, clinicians must continually assess the labor curve to promptly recognize when a shoulder dystocia complication is apparent. Upon its recognition, it is critical that it be managed appropriately by a trained delivery team that may implore certain maneuvers or other emergency techniques to effectuate the safe delivery of the baby.
HOW CAN SHOULDER DYSTOCIA INJURE MY BABY?
When a shoulder dystocia occurs, it is below the standard of care for health care providers to fail to perform the safety maneuvers, or perform them incorrectly, or pull too hard on the baby’s head or neck. This can stretch or tear the brachial plexus nerves that extend down the neck and into the arm, leading to brachial plexus palsy, sometimes called “Erb’s palsy.” Erb’s palsy manifests in pain and paralysis in the arm and hand of the “stuck” shoulder. Children afflicted with Erb’s palsy may recover, or may endure lifelong paralysis and growth restriction of the affected arm. Other common injuries associated with shoulder dystocia include fractures or dislocation of the humerus and clavicle.
Shoulder dystocia can also cause the umbilical cord to get trapped or compressed resulting in decreased or cessation of the blood and oxygen supply to the baby’s brain. This can lead to brain damage, hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, other neurological injuries, and even death.
In addition, mothers may suffer from hemorrhaging, a life-threatening condition.
WHAT CAN I DO?
If your child experienced an injury from shoulder dystocia, or has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy, you should call our firm and speak to one of our attorneys experienced in handling cases of shoulder dystocia in California. There is no cost to call and have your baby’s case evaluated by our specialized team of legal and medical professionals.
Please note that the information on this page is based on past cases and research in public sources performed by a law firm. It is NOT intended to be medical advice. If you suspect that you or your loved one is at risk for shoulder dystocia, contact your doctor immediately.
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