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Shoulder Dystocia Attorneys

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

The condition was first described in 1730. The word “dystocia” is from Latin meaning difficult birth or labor. Shoulder dystocia is something that can occur to a baby during birth. During delivery, the shoulders of a child can become stuck behind the pelvic bone of the mother. When this happens, great care must be taken by the attending physicians and nurses or else paralysis or permanent disability can occur.

Should dystocia attorneys specialize in these sort of cases. They usually represent mothers or fathers who sue the hospital or healthcare workers when their newborn suffers this potentially debilitating disorder.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Should dystocia can happen to anyone. Fortunately, cases are rare. There are certain risk factors that may increase the chance that a newborn may be vulnerable to this occurring:

  • Large babies
  • Overweight mothers
  • Abnormally narrow birth canal
  • Mothers with type 2 or gestational diabetes
  • Mothers of children who previously suffered dystocia at delivery
  • Babies delivered past their due date
  • Lack of proper pre-natal screening

What Exactly Can Happen to a Baby if He or She Suffers Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia attorneys must understand the range of complications that can arise during litigation of dystocia cases. These can range from death, permanent disability or serious but non-threatening injuries. Some of these that can happen include:

  • Paralysis
  • “Blue Baby Syndrome” whereby a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth causes death or permanent brain damage
  • Nerve injuries
  • Broken bones, usually the arm or shoulder

The paralysis that can occur runs from slight to severe. The baby may suffer Klumpke’s palsy, or paralysis of the fingers and hands. Erb’s palsy may cause a lifelong inability to move one arm from the elbow down or completely prohibit the use of the arm. Horner’s syndrome affects the eyelids, causing them to droop.

The mother can also suffer injuries, which can complicate the case for shoulder dystocia attorneys in court. Mothers suffer:

  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Lacerations
  • Tearing of the vagina, cervix, uterus or rectum
  • Bruising of the bladder

How Do Caregivers Prevent Dystocia from Happening?

If the doctors, nurses or midwives believe that a child is at risk of shoulder dystocia based on one of the risk factors, preparatory steps must be taken. Proper pre-operative preparation can significantly mitigate the risk. Key personnel such as nurses, operating room attendees, and the family should be alerted. The mother’s bladder should be emptied prior to delivery also.

During the delivery, the doctor may try a number of different things. The legs of the mother may be repositioned in order to widen the birth canal. Gentle pressure can be applied to the mother’s stomach to help reposition the baby. Rotating the baby inside the mother may prevent the baby from getting stuck. Ultimately, the doctor may actually break the baby’s collarbone so that the child can safely transit the canal.

The post-operative medical bills for baby and mother can be very costly as is evident from the difficulties and complications involved in saving the baby from death or disability. Shoulder dystocia attorneys are often engaged to sue the caregivers or insurance companies to ensure that the child and child’s family can pay for

What about C-Sections?

C-sections, if anticipated and performed in time, can prevent shoulder dystocia. However, many shoulder dystocia attorneys can testify that doctors and midwives frequently decide to perform a C-section when it is already too late. For example, doctors may ignore the risk factors and unsuccessfully attempt a vaginal birth. Doctors too may try to deliver the baby naturally and decide too late to delivery by C-section. The shoulder may be stuck and the C-section performed too late. The key to avoiding shoulder dystocia and the complications associated with it is to act quickly.

By not acting quickly, doctors and others may find themselves one of the specialist shoulder dystocia attorneys in order to defend them against a medical malpractice suit.