What Every Expectant Mother Should Know About Shoulder Dystocia

African American woman holding newborn to her face

The birth of a child is a wonderfully exciting time, marking a new beginning for parents and families alike. Unfortunately, complications during delivery can quickly turn that experience into a traumatic one. Shoulder dystocia is one of those complications because the effects can harm both mother and child, and for the newborn especially, they can be severe—even fatal. 

If your child suffered a shoulder dystocia-related injury, you may be able to file a claim of medical malpractice against the responsible hospital or obstetrician. The birth injury attorneys at Janet, Janet & Suggs are here to provide the tireless, compassionate representation you need to seek compensation for your child’s injuries.

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a complication that can happen during the delivery process and can result in serious disabilities for the newborn and injuries to the mother. The complication occurs when the baby’s head has been delivered but the shoulder becomes lodged behind the pelvic bone. This can result in damage or separation of the brachial plexus nerves, which can trigger various disabilities later in life. 

If doctors are not able to correct the positioning and deliver the baby quickly enough, it can also lead to severe brain damage. Furthermore, if a newborn becomes trapped in the birth canal, the umbilical cord can be compressed, which can have fatal consequences. 

Sometimes an emergency cesarean section is required to safely deliver the baby. An experienced obstetrician can maneuver an infant into the proper birthing position, but using too much force can cause severe long-term complications, including:

  • Erb’s palsy, paralysis of the arm caused by extensive pressure and injury to upper group of the main nerves of the arm during delivery
  • Klumpke’s palsy, partial or full paralysis of the forearm and hand

Shoulder dystocia can have complications for a mother during childbirth as well. Those injuries include:

  • Postpartum hemorrhage. This heavy internal abdominal bleeding after birth is the leading cause of maternal mortality.
  • Vaginal lacerations. These injuries, caused by the traumatic nature of a complicated delivery, can result in lasting pain and discomfort after childbirth. 

Medical Malpractice

If shoulder dystocia occurs during childbirth, doctors must work quickly to relieve the impacted shoulder and deliver the baby. If your obstetrician used excessive force, or neglected to provide proper emergency assistance once shoulder dystocia occurred, the physician, hospital, and other responsible care providers could be legally liable. 

An experienced birth injury lawyer can help guide you and your family through the legal process, offering the trusted support and counsel you need to obtain recovery for your child and hold the responsible party accountable. 

A Birth Injury Law Firm Committed to Your Case

If you’ve been asking yourself “Where are the birth injury lawyers near me?” you don’t have to look any further. As a nationally recognized birth injury law firm, JJS is experienced in shoulder dystocia and medical malpractice cases. Our birth injury attorneys have won hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of families who have been harmed during the birthing process all over the country—including in Baltimore, Chicago, Columbia, NYC, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Charlotte, and Des Moines. And our own Howard Janet has broken the record, twice, for the largest birth injury award handed down by a jury in Minnesota. 

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. We’ll help you decide the best next steps so that you and your child can resume a normal life as soon as possible.

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