Shoulder dystocia is a birth complication that occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. The infant is then stuck inside the birth canal. Physicians have only minutes to act during shoulder dystocia before the baby suffers from lack of oxygen to the brain and permanent injuries.
While no physician can predict shoulder dystocia, they all should know how to appropriately handle it to prevent harm to the child and mother. If a negligent physician incompetently dealt with this emergency, resulting in a birth injury or trauma, speak to the attorneys at Anapol Weiss.
Birth Injuries from Shoulder Dystocia
During shoulder dystocia, contractions put pressure on the baby’s neck and umbilical cord while stuck in the birth canal. This pressure can cut off oxygen supply to the baby’s brain, sometimes causing permanent injuries. Lack of oxygen can disrupt brain development, causing injuries and conditions that can affect the baby physically, psychologically, and cognitively. Shoulder dystocia can cause four main types of injuries:
- Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the arm. Paralysis may resolve on its own or require surgery/rehabilitative therapies. This condition stems from nerve damage to the upper arm, namely in the brachial plexus. Erb’s palsy is the most common negative outcome from shoulder dystocia.
- Klumpke’s palsy. A variety of partial palsy of the brachial plexus, Klumpke’s palsy injuries result in paralysis of children’s forearms and hands, stiff joints, and muscle atrophy.
- Nerve damage of the affected area. May result in need for surgery and extended therapy.
- Developmental delays. Lack of oxygen to the brain can impede fetal brain development through loss of important brain cells. This can lead to delays in learning, walking, and talking.
Incompetent, poorly prepared, or careless physicians may not know how to react in the event of shoulder dystocia. They may improperly use birth-assisting tools such as forceps, resulting in physical injuries to the infant. They may also fail to act in a timely manner. If a reasonably skilled doctor would have done something differently in similar circumstances, the defendant may be guilty of medical malpractice.
Proving Your Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuit
All physicians should know what to do in the event of shoulder dystocia to prevent one of the above-mentioned birth injuries. Failure to act quickly and appropriately may constitute professional negligence. As the parents of an injured child, you bear a burden of proof should you choose to pursue a medical malpractice claim. The attorneys at Anapol Weiss help clients with such cases through testimony from medical experts, eyewitness accounts, photos or videos of the birth taken by family members, and medical records of the labor and delivery.
With an in-depth investigation into the birth of your child, we may be able to help you prove the negligence of someone involved. The goal of a shoulder dystocia case is to prove that the professional understood the emergency and dealt with it improperly. You must prove a breach of duty and the resultant injuries to your child. A successful birth injury case can lead to compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
At Anapol Weiss, we know a lawsuit can’t reverse your child’s injuries or ease his/her symptoms. We can only hope that fighting for justice gives you a feeling of closure and the means to move on without financial strife relating to your child’s injuries. Birth injuries can be expensive. If you’re eligible for compensation from the at-fault party, pursuing a claim may help you cover long-term costs of your child’s condition. Schedule a consultation with our attorneys at (866) 735-2792 or via our online form.