Shoulder Dystocia Must Be Managed Carefully During Birth

Facts About Shoulder Dystocia/Brachial Plexus

The overall incidence of shoulder dystocia varies from 0.6 to 1.4 percent of all infants with a birth weight of 2,500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces) to 4,000 grams (8 pounds, 13 ounces).

— American Family Physician, April 1, 2004

If a physician applies negligent traction to a baby with shoulder dystocia a brachial plexus injury can occur. At The Lawrence Firm, PSC, our attorneys help parents whose babies suffered as a result of mismanaged shoulder dystocia during birth. We use our experience and our considerable resources to obtain compensation for parents and their children. We have offices in Covington and Cincinnati to serve clients in Kentucky and Ohio.

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby's shoulders fail to follow the baby's head through the birth canal. The result, if proper action is not taken, can be damaging to the mother and disabling to the baby. If your infant has experienced an injury such as a brachial plexus injury or Erb's Palsy because of mismanagement of shoulder dystocia, it is important to speak with an attorney to learn about your legal rights.

Consequences Of Mismanaged Shoulder Dystocia

Babies and mothers alike can experience potentially serious injuries because of physician and nursing negligence in response to shoulder dystocia. Women can suffer hemorrhage, uterine rupture and lacerations. The most common complication for infants is brachial plexus injury such as Erb's palsy and other conditions arising from nerve damage. Other problems include broken bones and brain damage.

What Should A Doctor Do?

There are standard techniques for managing shoulder dystocia during birth. The doctor can reposition the mother or maneuver the baby — this is the usual approach. More drastic techniques, such as breaking the baby's collarbone or an emergency cesarean section, can resolve a difficult case of shoulder dystocia.

How Do Injuries Occur?

Injuries related to shoulder dystocia occur when the physician tries to pull the baby out without attempting standard obstetric maneuvers that have been shown to work. This stretches and breaks the nerves in the neck and shoulder, resulting in palsies, broken bones and other injuries. Babies often need orthopedic or neurosurgery in the first months of life to correct problems caused by poor management of shoulder dystocia.

Contact The Lawrence Firm, PSC, For A Free Consultation

If your baby's injuries were the result of mismanagement of shoulder dystocia, contact an experienced lawyer to discuss filing a claim. Call The Lawrence Firm at 800-698-4054 or contact us online to discuss your options.