Shoulder Dystocia Could Have Been Prevented If Obstetrician Exercised Proper Care

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby's shoulder catches on the mother's pubic bone during labor, preventing delivery of the child. The most common complication that can arise from shoulder dystocia is a brachial plexus injury. These injuries are often referred to as Erb's palsy.

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that start in the neck and shoulder. This bundle of nerves control movement of the shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. When these nerves are damaged, a child may suffer partial or complete paralysis to these regions of the body. Surgery or other treatment may improve this condition in some situations. Many children, unfortunately, suffer a lifelong disability.

Standard medical practice requires that doctors recognize when shoulder dystocia occurs and obstetrician undertakes certain maneuvers to avoid injury. In many cases, brachial plexus injuries occur when an obstetrician or other professional fails to properly maneuver the mother and baby during delivery. If your child has suffered a brachial plexus injury, it is important to work with lawyers with a complete understanding of the medical and legal issues surrounding these claims. The lawyers of Britcher Leone, LLC, can review your situation and help you take action, if appropriate.

Obstetricians Who Exercise A Proper Level Of Care Can Prevent Erb's Palsy

When shoulder dystocia is present, obstetricians must undertake a number of maneuvers to safely deliver the child. One such maneuver is known as the McRoberts maneuver, which entails flexing the mother's legs wide and toward her head. Another maneuver is known as suprapubic pressure. When applying suprapubic pressure, a nurse or attendant will apply direct pressure above the mother's pubic bone in order to push the fetal shoulder in a different direction. Depending on the nature of the shoulder dystocia, an episiotomy may be necessary to facilitate the delivery. Another maneuver is the Woods' Corkscrew, where the obstetrician places his or her fingers on the baby's shoulders and rotates them to alleviate the dystocia. When obstetricians are properly trained in executing these maneuvers, there is a substantial likelihood the child and mother will escape serious injury.

Shoulder dystocia is estimated to occur in nearly one in 200 births. While some factors increase the likelihood of this complication, it cannot be predicted with certainty. These risk factors include a high birth weight (nine pounds or more), maternal diabetes and pregnancies that go longer than full term (prolonged gestation). Another risk factor includes delivering the child via forceps or vacuum extractor.

The Medical Knowledge To Handle Your Case

Our firm has the legal and medical knowledge to effectively handle Erb's palsy cases. We understand the warning signs as well as the maneuvers doctors should take to avoid such injuries. Our law firm has both a doctor and two nurses on staff to coordinate the medical aspects of your claim. We have both the experience and skill necessary to present a powerful claim on your child's behalf.