Shoulder Dystocia Injury: How It's Caused During Birth

shoulder dystocia injury

Has your child suffered from a shoulder dystocia injury?

It happens to many parents. Their stories may even be the same as yours.

You go into labor. You’re so excited to finally deliver your child after 9 months of waiting.

Then, you find out there’s a complication. And this complication has caused a serious injury to you or your child.

It’s not easy to deal with. Especially if the shoulder dystocia injury was caused by your doctor’s negligence.

If you’re reading this, you might be a parent whose child has suffered a shoulder dystocia injury and you want to know if your doctor was at fault. In this post, you will learn what shoulder dystocia is, the impact that it can have on your family, and whether or not you might have a case.

What Is A Shoulder Dystocia Injury?

A shoulder dystocia injury results from a complication that occurs during childbirth. This birth injury is a result of the infant’s shoulders becoming lodged in the mother’s pelvic region.

When this happens, it’s noticeable when the baby’s shoulders remain stuck in the pelvic area after the head has already appeared. In some cases, the doctor can cause injuries while trying to get the baby out. These injuries can include:

  • Brachial plexus palsy
  • Facial injuries
  • Broken bones

There are several symptoms that can be present when there is shoulder dystocia. These will be discussed later in this post.

Shoulder dystocia can be preventable in most cases, if the physician is carefully monitoring the progress of the mother’s labor. If the doctor sees that there is fetal distress, they can schedule an emergency C-section. This can prevent any other complications.

Since larger infants are more at risk for shoulder dystocia, they are typically better candidates for C-section delivery. Ultimately, the decision up to the doctor. They will have to assess whether or not there is a greater risk of injury.

What Causes It?

Sometimes, shoulder dystocia can happen when the child is born face first. When the baby’s face is being pulled on, it can cause stress on the neck. If the baby is being born feet first, there can be stress on the shoulder and neck.

When one of the shoulders becomes stuck, the doctor may need extra help to complete the birth.

There can be a few different causes for shoulder dystocia.

Your baby’s shoulder may get stuck if:

  • There is a history of shoulder dystocia.
  • The baby has a larger body in proportion to its head.
  • The baby has diabetes.

Additionally, there could be conditions that impact the mother that can cause shoulder dystocia.

These conditions can include:

  • The mother has diabetes.
  • Labor is induced.
  • She gets an epidural.
  • The mother is pregnant with more than one baby.
  • Late birth.

The tough part about shoulder dystocia is that there are so many different things that can cause it. If you have a good doctor, they should be able to make a determination of how risky the childbirth is.

What Injuries Does It Cause?

A shoulder dystocia injury isn’t always serious. It depends on the circumstance. In some cases, it might be easily treated. In others, it can be fatal.

When the baby’s shoulder isn’t able to pass through the mother’s pelvic region, it will become stuck in the birth canal. The pressure that the mother’s body is placing on the infant can cause serious injuries for both the mother and the child.

A shoulder dystocia injury can take several different forms. These include:

  • Fractured arm or collarbone.
  • Nerve damage in the shoulder, hands, or arms.
  • Bruising of the cervix or rectum.
  • Deprivation of oxygen.
  • Hemorrhage.

These injuries can cause a lot of damage to both the baby and the mother. That’s why it’s so important to do whatever you can to prevent it.

Do You Have A Case?

One of the causes of shoulder dystocia injury can be medical malpractice. In some cases, the negligence of the doctor can contribute to the shoulder dystocia injury.

This can be a very serious matter because if the injury was preventable, you might be entitled to compensation. Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove because you might have to show that the doctor was negligent in her duties.

There are several medical mistakes that can lead to shoulder dystocia. If the doctor fails to monitor the labor well enough, it could cause the shoulder dystocia injury. This is because they need to monitor the labor in order to make sure that there’s no stress on the child.

Another way that a doctor could cause shoulder dystocia injury is during assisted childbirth. If forceps or a vacuum is used, it can cause the baby to become stuck. If the doctor does not correct it, she could be responsible for the shoulder dystocia injury.

The key is to determine whether or not your doctor was actually negligent. There are four factors that must be present if you’re going to show that your doctor was negligent:

  • Your doctor had a reasonable duty of care.
  • Your doctor breached her duty of care.
  • The doctor’s breach caused your injury.
  • The injury led to actual damage.

Remember, all four of these elements need to be true in order to prove negligence. If one of these factors isn’t true, then you won’t have a malpractice case.

Do You Need A Birth Injury Lawyer?

Shoulder dystocia injury is a serious issue. While it’s a preventable condition, it still happens. In most cases, it’s caused by complications during childbirth. However, in some cases, shoulder dystocia can be caused by the actions of your doctor. If you feel your child had a shoulder dystocia injury because of your doctor’s negligence, it’s important to determine whether or not you have a case. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation.

If you feel your child had a shoulder dystocia injury because of your doctor’s negligence, it’s important to determine whether or not you have a case. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation.

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