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Is Shoulder Dystocia Caused by Medical Malpractice?

 Posted on November 30, 2020 in Medical Malpractice

Rockford medical malpractice lawyersThe birth of a child can bring on a range of intense emotions. On one hand, anticipating the arrival of a new child is exciting and joyous. On the other hand, thinking about the sheer number of things that could potentially go wrong during labor and delivery can be terrifying. If you or a family member recently gave birth and the baby suffered a birth injury caused by shoulder dystocia, you may be left with several questions. Is shoulder dystocia preventable? Was my child’s birth injury caused by a medical mistake? Do I have a medical malpractice claim? The answers to these questions depend on your unique circumstances, however, there are situations in which shoulder dystocia is the result of medical malpractice.

What Causes Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia occurs during vaginal delivery when the baby is lodged against the mother’s pelvis. Carrying twins or multiples, macrosomia, maternal diabetes, medications used to induce labor, and the use of assistive tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors may increase the chances of shoulder dystocia. One or both of the baby’s shoulders may pin the baby inside the birth canal and prevent the baby from being delivered normally. Often, doctors can adjust the baby’s position and guide him or her though the birth canal unharmed. However, shoulder dystocia can also lead to serious birth injuries or even fetal death. Postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture, damage to the baby’s brachial plexus nerves, fractures, and asphyxia may all be caused by shoulder dystocia. A baby who experiences shoulder dystocia may even develop cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or other medical conditions that result in lifelong disabilities.

When is a Physician Responsible for Birth Injured Caused by Shoulder Dystocia?

If your baby suffered a birth injury because of shoulder dystocia, you may question if the injures could have been prevented or mitigated by higher quality medical care. The standard used to determine if a birth injury is the result of negligent medical care is the “medical standard of care.” This refers to the type of care that a reasonably proficient medical professional of the same training and expertise would have provided in similar circumstances.

Your baby’s birth injury may have been the result of medical negligence if your doctor or another medical professional:

  • Failed to recognize the signs of shoulder dystocia and address the problem in a timely manner
  • Failed to perform a necessary cesarean section or “c-section”
  • Administered the wrong medication or an incorrect dose of medication
  • Failed to account for risk factors such as high birth weight or maternal obesity
  • Used excessive force when attempting to extricate the baby from the birth canal
  • Used ineffective or unsafe medical procedures given the circumstances
  • Provided medical care that was otherwise inadequate

Contact a Rockford Birth Injury Lawyer

If shoulder dystocia resulted in your infant’s injury, contact a Winnebago County birth injury attorney at Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS. We have investigated countless birth injuries and can help you determine if your baby’s injury was caused by medical malpractice. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call 815-215-7561 today and schedule a free, confidential consultation.




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