Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury

The birth of a child should be the happiest day in a parent’s life, but when an infant suffers a birth injury, the joy can quickly turn to devastation. Shoulder dystocia is a potentially serious situation that arises during labor. It often comes with no warning signs and requires the doctor or medical care professional to make a quick, accurate diagnosis and take immediate action. Failure on the part of the medical staff to do so can have tragic consequences.

What is shoulder dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that occurs when the infant’s shoulder or shoulders become lodged against the mother’s pelvis, preventing the shoulder or shoulders from delivering. When this occurs, the doctor must react quickly to prevent harm from coming to the baby. This is because the mother will still experience contractions which, because the baby’s head is through the birth canal but the shoulders are not, could put pressure on the baby’s neck and umbilical cord. This pressure can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain that could lead to permanent damage or even death.

What causes shoulder dystocia?

There are three main causes of shoulder dystocia:

  1. The size or shape of the mother’s pelvis;
  2. The size of the baby; and
  3. The baby’s position as it moves through the birth canal.

What can a doctor do to prevent permanent shoulder dystocia injuries?

There are a few maneuvers a doctor can use to react to infant shoulder dystocia and prevent permanent shoulder dystocia complications. These include changing the mother’s position, applying pressure to the mother’s stomach, changing the baby’s position, providing more room for the baby to move through the birth canal, and performing a caesarean section.

What are the possible consequences of a shoulder dystocia delivery?

Among the possible permanent baby shoulder dystocia injuries are:

Erb’s Palsy: a form of brachial plexus injury in which the infant suffers harm to the upper nerves, resulting in upper arm paralysis. Symptoms include weakness, loss of feeling, and partial or full paralysis in one arm.

Klumpke’s Palsy: another form of brachial plexus injury, this time affecting the lower nerves, resulting in forearm, wrist, and hand paralysis.

Cerebral Palsy: a birth injury marked by issues with muscle tone, involuntary movement, lack of muscle coordination, limb rigidity, and seizures.

Developmental Issues: a birth injury caused by lack of oxygen that causes the child to lose vital brain cells.

Injury to the shoulder, arms, and hand, including bone fractures.

Unfortunately, in cases where oxygen is cut off from the infant’s brain for too long, there is a possibility the infant will die.

Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuits

Sometimes doctors mishandle shoulder dystocia situations, leading to permanent injury and disfigurement. This includes failing to react in time to an emergency situation, applying too much force when reacting to shoulder dystocia, or otherwise being negligent in causing the infant’s injury.

When this happens, the family of the affected baby may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital where the injury occurred.

A shoulder dystocia lawsuit can recover damages for the injured infant and the family including ongoing medical bills, long-term care, and non-economic losses.

Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer

A newborn shoulder dystocia situation is incredibly stressful for the mother and can cause permanent, debilitating harm to the infant.

Families with infants who suffer long-term shoulder dystocia injuries face excessive medical bills, costs associated with special care, and other financial hardships.

At Cutter Law P.C., we know how terrible the consequences of a shoulder dystocia injury can be. Our highly skilled attorneys have fought on behalf of people of all ages injured by medical malpractice and other negligence. We’ll fight to obtain justice for you and your infant, so you can focus on caring for your family.

Contact a shoulder dystocia injury lawyer for a compassionate, no-obligation consultation. We’re here to answer your questions, help determine if the injuries are the result of negligence, and help you decide the best way to move forward with your claim.

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Our Office Locations

Sacramento Office
401 Watt Avenue Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95864
Phone: 916-290-9400

Oakland Office
Cutter Law P.C.
1999 Harrison Street Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612

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