Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes lodged in the birth canal. Dystocia means slow or difficult labor or delivery, according to the March of Dimes. If a doctor acts negligently while addressing this problem, and the newborn suffers severe and debilitating injuries, such as nerve damage, that doctor may be held liable for malpractice.
Contact our Cleveland birth injury lawyers today for a free consultation, or request our free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.
What Are the Causes & Risk Factors of Shoulder Dystocia?
Complications can arise if a large baby is delivered through a narrow pelvis.
Though shoulder dystocia cannot be predicted before labor, a mother may have difficulty delivering her baby if she:
- Is overweight or diabetic
- Is giving birth to twins, triplets, or more
- Had shoulder dystocia problems during a previous delivery
- Has the baby late
Shoulder Dystocia Techniques to Avoid Injuring Mom & Baby
“Management of shoulder dystocia primarily involves repositioning the laboring patient or repositioning the fetus,” per Medscape. “Five maneuvers (Rubin, Jacquemier, Woods, and McRoberts maneuvers, and suprapubic pressure), either singly or in combination, accomplish delivery nearly 100 percent of the time.”
These methods entail manually adjusting the baby’s position, rolling the mother onto all fours, pressing on her belly, or surgically cutting the vagina to create a wider opening. Sometimes, an emergency cesarean section may be necessary.
Complications & Birth Injuries
A mother may suffer heavy bleeding, bladder bruising, and/or tearing of the vagina, cervix, uterus or rectum.
Her baby may suffer complications such as a broken arm or clavicle, which tend to heal with time. Conversely, brachial plexus injuries may cause chronic pain, stiff joints, loss of sensation, and even permanent disability, such as weakness or paralysis. Birth asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) is another potential complication, which could cause brain damage.
Can You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Your Baby’s Shoulder Dystocia Injuries?
Any time a birth injury causes serious injuries, disability, or disfigurement, a parent should pursue compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lifelong care. Contact our office today to determine whether you have a viable claim, or request a copy of attorney Chris Mellino‘s free guide to filing a malpractice claim in Ohio.
Call (440) 276-3535 to discuss your legal options with an experienced birth injury attorney in Cleveland.