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Shoulder Dystocia

The medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm handle birth injury cases, including those involving Shoulder Dystocia. If your child has been diagnosed with Shoulder Dystocia there is a good possibility that it was caused by medical negligence or medical malpractice. It is in your best interests to seek out more information about Shoulder Dystocia if you suspect that medical malpractice or negligence may have been involved in the delivery process. Information on what Shoulder Dystocia is and what it might mean for you and your child can be found below. Additionally, the medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm invite you to contact us, either at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT so that we can talk to you about any potential claim you might have.

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder Dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes trapped inside the birth canal during childbirth. During most routine, uncomplicated births, the normal procedure is to have the baby’s head come out first, followed by the shoulders, and then the rest of the baby’s body. Shoulder Dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes caught, often on the mother’s pelvic bone, preventing the rest of the baby’s body from following and being delivered. This can create a slow or painful birthing process.

Shoulder Dystocia is considered a medical emergency. This is because it requires immediate action to avoid potential consequences and because it can only occur during childbirth. Shoulder Dystocia may be unpredictable or unpreventable, but it can be planned for. There are risk factors that make Shoulder Dystocia more likely to occur. These include the following:

  • Maternal factors such as – age above 35, shortness in stature, small pelvis or abnormal pelvis, maternal obesity, maternal diabetes
  • Higher fetal weight, with greater instances of Shoulder Dystocia occurring in infants above 9 pounds
  • Prolonged labor, especially in the first or second stage
  • Use of a vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery

There are also events during childbirth which may be a warning sign of Shoulder Dystocia, and should be observed and responded to by medical professionals. These include:

  • The need for oxytocics (drugs used during childbirth to ease pain or induce labor)
  • The turtle sign (Term used to indicate when the fetal head may appear and then retract)
  • Failure to restitute (The process of the fetal head rotating to maintain normal alignment with the shoulders)
  • No shoulder rotation or descent

Consequences of Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder Dystocia can result in serious consequences for both the mother and the child. As mentioned above, Shoulder Dystocia is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention and action. Failure to take action quickly or properly can cause severe consequences. These consequences can be short term damage, long term damage, and may even be fatal to the child and mother.

Potential short term damage includes the following:

  • Hemorrhaging in the mother
  • Vaginal lacerations or tears in the mother
  • Uterine rupture
  • Fractured bones in the infant, including the clavicle or the humerus
  • Contusions or lacerations
  • Other brachial plexus injuries
  • Umbilical cord compression, resulting in oxygen deprivation to the infant

Potential long term damage includes the following:

In the most severe cases, Shoulder Dystocia may cause complications which lead to the death of the infant.

Medical and Legal Significance of Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder Dystocia is a known potential problem with childbirth. As mentioned above, it is considered an emergency, partly because it can unpredictable or unpreventable. However, Shoulder Dystocia can be planned for. There are many risk factors that may indicate a likelihood of Shoulder Dystocia, and it is important for doctors and other medical professionals to observe those risk factors and have a plan in place to address Shoulder Dystocia should it occur. Through proper planning and action, medical professionals should have the opportunity to prevent Shoulder Dystocia from occurring in the first place.

Damage as a result of Shoulder Dystocia may be caused by medical malpractice or negligence of medical professionals. If a doctor fails to observe the risk factors associated with Shoulder Dystocia and does not create a plan for how to address it, they may be unprepared in the event of the emergency, which may worsen their chances at preventing damage to the mother or child. Doctors may also fail to act quickly enough or in the proper fashion when Shoulder Dystocia occurs, resulting in damage that may have been avoidable. This may include doing the wrong thing, doing the right thing too slowly, or doing nothing at all.

It is the responsibility of doctors and other medical professionals to be ready to address the medical emergency of Shoulder Dystocia. Failure to do so may be medical malpractice or negligence.

Seeking Legal Counsel and Guidance

If you have experienced Shoulder Dystocia during childbirth and you or your child now have injuries, trauma, a disorder, or other health issues, medical malpractice or negligence may be the cause. The medical malpractice attorneys at the Brannon Law Firm have the skill and experience to discover whether you or your child’s health issues are a result of Shoulder Dystocia and whether those health issues could have been avoided or prevented, as well as to help ensure that you or your child receive the assistance you need and deserve.

Medical malpractice and negligence is preventable. It is caused by the error, improper action, or lack of action by medical professionals. It is important to hold those medical professionals to the proper standards of care and to hold them accountable for the harm and damage they may cause. The Brannon Law Firm can help hold those at fault accountable.

Additionally, treatment for you or your child may be difficult, both financially and emotionally. The consequences of Shoulder Dystocia can be severe and long lasting, requiring years of medical treatment, loss of quality of life, and costly medical bills. It is important to ensure you have the assistance and care that you or your child deserve to live the best life possible. The Brannon Law Firm can help with that process.

At the Brannon Law Firm, we have represented many families and infants who were unfortunate victims of Shoulder Dystocia. We have obtained favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients in Shoulder Dystocia cases. Our expertise extends in to multiple areas, including a history of large settlements in medical malpractice cases.

We invite you to contact us, either at 937-228-2306 or 1-800-VERDICT. You may also contact us online. We offer a free consultation. The Brannon Law Firm is proud to serve clients in Dayton and throughout the State of Ohio.