Shoulder Dystocia Causes Lifelong Medical Conditions By Steve Charpentier on February 19, 2018

baby arms and handsA birth injury can lead to a lifetime of care or therapy. The costs are excessive, and the emotional toll taken on the family is great. When a birth injury results in shoulder dystocia, it is important to examine the birth and identify what doctors and other medical personnel could have done to prevent the injury. In Melbourne, FL, the attorneys at the Charpentier Law Firm have experience helping families demand the compensation they are entitled to in these specialized medical malpractice cases. Our team knows how to fight for everything victims are entitled to receive.

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

During birth, when the shoulder becomes stuck behind the pubic bone, doctors must take quick action to prevent birth injuries. If a doctor fails to act when the head is delivered but the shoulder remains stuck, the baby is only partially delivered and can suffer injuries.

The most common injuries caused by shoulder dystocia are:

  • Cerebral palsy: caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery
  • Development delays: the lack of oxygen to the brain can result in developmental delays after the birth, and parents should be vigilant in monitoring their children for these delays
  • Erbs palsy: this condition consists of a paralysis of the arm, and can be either full or partial paralysis

There is no way to predict an instance of shoulder dystocia, but with proper training and education, every doctor should be able to take evasive measures to prevent lifelong damage to your child.

How to Prevent a Shoulder Dystocia Injury

Physicians are trained to take corrective actions when complications arise in order to prevent the injuries associated with shoulder dystocia. These include:

  • The doctor may actually turn the baby while it is still inside the birth canal, so a proper delivery can take place.
  • Many mothers undergo an episiotomy when giving birth. This procedure involves a surgical cutting of the area around the vagina to prevent tearing and allow for a larger delivery area.
  • Having the mother bring her legs to her chest during delivery.
  • Performing an emergency c-section to safely deliver the baby.

When a doctor notices difficulty in delivery, any of these measures can be taken to safely deliver the baby and prevent permanent injury. Failure to do so is negligent and gives rise to a medical malpractice claim.

Evidence Needed to Make a Case

If you have a child who suffered shoulder dystocia during delivery, you have the right to compensation. In order to bring a medical malpractice claim for this type of injury, it is critical to present medical records and notes from the delivery, as well as the records immediately following the birth. You can also rely on eyewitness testimony, which may require you to depose the doctor and others in the room during the birth. Photos are also a good source of proof that your child suffered a preventable injury. When taking all of these pieces together, a clear picture can be painted showing the delivery was not performed according to medical standards, and those responsible should be held accountable.

Who to Call for Help with a Shoulder Dystocia Case

If your child suffered an injury during birth, the attorneys at the Charpentier Law Firm can help. We review all of the evidence and take action, so you and your family can focus on healing. Contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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Charpentier Law Firm, P.A.

Since 1981, Stephen G. Charpentier has been protecting victims' rights. Mr. Charpentier:

  • Is a recipient of an AV rating, the Martindale-Hubbel® National Law Directory's highest honor
  • Earned Florida Legal Elite status in 2010
  • Handles cases in many practice areas including medical malpractice, auto accidents, and wrongful death

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