Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer
Shoulder Dystocia is a rare but serious complication during childbirth. A doctor or midwife must act quickly to prevent harm to the infant.
Dystocia refers to a slow or difficult childbirth or labor. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s head has been born but the shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone.
During childbirth the baby moves down from the mother’s uterus through the bones of the pelvis. The pubic bone is at the front of the pelvis. Generally after the baby’s head is born the head and body turn sideways and this allows the shoulders, and then body, to more easily pass through the pelvis.
However, with shoulder dystocia the baby becomes stuck. If this occurs it is a very serious birth complication. If the baby cannot be born quickly and is stuck in the mother’s vagina, the baby will not be able to get enough oxygen due to the umbilical cord being crushed. Even if the head is out, the lungs are still compressed and cannot get oxygen that way either.
Risk Factors for Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia can be an unpredictable complication. However, there are several risk factors associated with this type of birth injury. Some of these may include:
- Maternal obesity
- Gestational diabetes
- Shoulder dystocia in a previous birth
- A large baby (fetal macrosomia)
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery
While these risk factors occur in some of the instances of shoulder dystocia, it sometimes affects women who do not fall into any of these categories. An experienced doctor or midwife should be thorough in knowing if you are at high risk of this condition and provide you with the appropriate medical care.
Risks for the Baby
It is estimated that about 20% of babies born following shoulder dystocia will suffer some sort of injury, it may be temporary or permanent. Some of the most common birth injuries of this condition are:
- Brachial Plexus
- Fractured clavicles
- Fractured humeri
- Birth asphyxia
- Fetal death
Many babies that are born following shoulder dystocia are fine. However, there are some instances where the baby has long term disabilities associated with it. On rare occasions, when the baby is deprived of oxygen for too long, it results in the baby’s death.
If you or a loved one have a baby that has suffered harm due to shoulder dystocia, contact the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm. We have a well-earned reputation for taking on and winning complicated birth injury medical malpractice cases in St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois.
When Shoulder Dystocia is Medical Malpractice
When shoulder dystocia is recognized by a doctor or other medical professional, there are a number of maneuvers that may be performed to help quickly free the baby’s shoulder. For instance the mother may be helped to reposition her legs to help widen the birth canal. Gentle pressure on the abdomen may be applied just above the pubic bone to help release the baby’s shoulder. In some instances an emergency caesarean section is performed to deliver the baby. Whatever method is tried, a doctor or midwife must act quickly to prevent harm to the infant.
Shoulder dystocia is considered an obstetrical emergency. If a doctor, midwife or other medical professional fails to act quickly or fails to provide a high standard of medical care and the result is harm to the mother and/or baby, this is considered medical malpractice. It may also be that they fail to recognize the risk factors for the mother or fail to recognize the signs that the baby is stuck.
Contact a Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer
Although monetary compensation can never erase a birth injury, it can alleviate many of the day-to-day problems confronted by birth injury victims and their families. The amount of compensation awarded in a birth injury case caused by medical negligence or medical malpractice varies but is generally predicated on the severity of damage, the degree of negligence on the part of healthcare professionals and the cost of future care for the child.
Get immediate help! If you have a child with a birth injury, contact the Missouri and Illinois birth injury lawyers at Zevan and Davidson today to schedule a free consultation by calling (314) 588-7200.
photo credit via Flickr.com: A. Vandalay