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People often associate childbirth with pain and that’s for good reason. Even the perfect birth can cause discomfort and pain. However, when something goes wrong, pain and discomfort are only part of the problem. Shoulder dystocia (or SD for short), wherein the baby becomes stuck during birth, can have life-altering consequences – all of which are preventable. Around one percent of vaginal births in the United States experience SD and the signs that it could happen are usually identifiable by qualified medical professionals.
Since most cases of SD stem from doctor negligence or malpractice, parents should consider legal action. At Panish, Shea, and Boyle, LLP, our Los Angeles shoulder dystocia lawyer team have a proven track record of success when it comes to personal injury claims. Call us today to schedule a review of your case.
What is Shoulder Dystocia?
SD happens when the baby’s anterior shoulder lodges against the maternal pubic bone after the head has left the birth canal. On rare occasions, the posterior shoulder strikes the sacrum. In either case, the baby’s passage through the vaginal canal stops for an extended period of time. For the birth to finish, the delivering practitioner must help the baby exit by way of specified maneuvers. In the process, the baby and/or mother sustain injuries, the most common being brachial plexus palsies for the infant and postpartum hemorrhage and fourth-degree lacerations in the uterus, vagina, cervix, or rectum for the mother.
What Causes This?
Often, improper birthing position can lead to this condition, especially when the child’s shoulders get trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone. A child’s head can be rotated to prevent this placement. Sometimes, improper administration of an epidural or faulty use of forceps or vacuum extraction can lead to this condition. In any case, the consequences can be long-lasting and even fatal. Shoulder dystocia can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage or permanently damage the child’s nerves, leading to paralysis, motor skill problems, and cognitive issues. Unfortunately, shoulder dystocia can cause lifelong problems. These can cost a family a significant amount of money and impact the child’s ability to lead a normal life.
Since most cases of shoulder dystocia are due to a doctor’s negligence or malpractice, legal action is recommended for parents facing this condition. You may have grounds for a shoulder dystocia lawsuit that allows you to seek monetary compensation for associated costs such as ongoing medical treatment, applicable surgeries or medications, education, and even to help offset your family’s pain and suffering.
Who is At Risk?
SD is a very unpredictable emergency; however, a baby may be at risk if:
- The baby is very large.
- Two or more babies are expected.
- The baby is born overdue.
- A medical professional induces birth.
- A medical professional administers an epidural.
- An operative (use of forceps or vacuum) vaginal birth occurs.
- The mother has diabetes.
- The mother is obese.
- The mother gave birth to a large baby previously.
- The mother experienced SD previously.
Preventing Shoulder Dystocia Injuries
A proper review of the mother and baby’s medical records will alert the medical team to SD risks. Doctors should talk to the mother if any of the SD risk factors exists. Once SD has occurred, the team has access to several techniques that can prevent further injury. These include the McRoberts maneuver, Woods’ Screw, or the application of suprapubic pressure.
However, if the medical team fails to prepare ahead of time or lacks the training to deal with SD when it takes place, the infant and mother will likely sustain injuries. Some of these injuries may last a lifetime.
What SD Complications Might Follow?
In most cases, the damage is limited when treated correctly. Some complications that might happen for the baby include:
- Shoulder, arm, or hand nerve injury, causing shaking or paralysis.
- Clavicle or humerus fracture.
- Lack of oxygen to brain. In the very rare, severe cases, this causes brain damage or death.
The mother may experience heavy bleeding post-birth or uterine/vaginal/cervical/rectal tearing. In almost all cases, these complications are treated and easily managed.
At Panish Shea & Boyle LLP, we’re no strangers to personal injury. In fact, our personal injury lawyers have received national attention from major media outlets due to our long record of success, such as the $58 million verdict we just received for a man injured by a defective tractor. Our office is savvy, compassionate, and has the resources you need to receive the compensation you deserve. What can you do to access the strength and skill of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP? Call us today and we’ll give you a free case consultation and more information on filing your Los Angeles shoulder dystocia claim. (310) 477-1700
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Disclaimer: The cerebral palsy injury or other legal information presented at this site should not be considered formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter. Please note that you are not considered a client until you have signed a retainer agreement and your case has been accepted by us.