Written by Andrew Sarski on December 14, 2011
Children suffering from side effects of shoulder dystocia may be entitled to lifetime care. Contact a birth injury attorney to discuss the benefits of seeking compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s anterior shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone after delivery of the fetal head. If this happens, the remainder of the baby does not follow the head easily out of the vagina as it usually does during vaginal deliveries. Shoulder dystocia can occur when a baby is unusually large or if the mother’s pelvic opening is too small for the baby’s shoulders to come out. Although the head has been born, the baby cannot start breathing because its chest remains compressed in the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s body is putting pressure on the oxygen-carrying umbilical cord. If this situation occurs, the baby’s shoulders need to be released quickly so that the baby can be born safely without any long-lasting complications. Unfortunately, failure to act quickly and effectively on the part of the healthcare provider could result in devastating consequences. If your child has suffered from serious side effects associated with shoulder dystocia, contact a birth injury attorney today.
Shoulder Dystocia Described
If shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery, certain steps need to be taken to ensure a safe delivery. In some cases, the mother may simply need to press her thighs against her belly or roll onto all fours to help the baby’s shoulder become unstuck. In more serious instances, a wider opening may need to be cut in the woman’s vagina, or a cesarean section may be required after labor has begun. A pregnant women may be at risk of shoulder dystocia if:
- The baby is very large
- She has diabetes
- She is obese
- She is pregnant with more than one baby
- She delivers after the baby’s due date
Shoulder Dystocia Complications
In many cases of shoulder dystocia, the mother and baby do well and have no permanent damage. Unfortunately, in some instances of this condition, complications for the child may include:
- A broken arm or collarbone
- Injury to the nerves of the shoulder, hand and arms, which may result in shaking or paralysis
- Lack of oxygen, which can cause brain damage and death
The mother may also suffer from complications resulting from shoulder dystocia. These may include:
- Bruising of the bladder
- Heavy bleeding after delivery
- Tearing of the uterus, vagina, rectum or cervix
Birth Injury Attorneys for Shoulder Dystocia
All trained and qualified doctors, hospitals and Ob/Gyns should be familiar with the dangers of shoulder dystocia and the specific maneuvers required to safely deliver a baby whose shoulders are stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. Too often, poor training, distraction or simple negligence contribute to the development of life-altering and possibly even fatal side effects among children. If you or a loved one has suffered from a major side effect, which you believe to be linked to shoulder dystocia, contact a birth injury attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, Ob/Gyn or hospital responsible for your care, in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. With the help of a qualified birth defect lawyer, you can protect your legal rights and collect the compensation you deserve.