Shoulder dystocia attorney in San Diego, CA

Shoulder dystocia or SD most often occurs during birth when the infant’s head passes through the birth canal, but his or her shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone or when the baby’s posterior shoulder is pushed against the mother’s sacrum.

As a consequence, both the mother and/or the baby may sustain injuries, the most common one being brachial plexus or Erb’s Palsy in the case of the baby, and postpartum hemorrhaging and lacerations to the cervix, rectum, uterus, or vagina of the mother.

Women who exhibit the following factors have an increased risk for having a baby with SD:

  • Having diabetes or gestational diabetes
  • Having a history of babies with large birth weights
  • Having a history of a SD with a previous delivery
  • Induced labor
  • Obesity
  • Having to use forceps or vacuum extractor during the birthing process
  • Giving birth past the due date
  • Multiple birth pregnancy

A careful review of an expectant woman’s medical records, both past and present, should alert her doctor to any increased risks she may have for having a baby with shoulder dystocia. Precautionary measures, such as recommending a Cesarean delivery, can then be taken to avoid this preventable condition, but once the birthing process has begun, the doctor should be able to use techniques such as the McRoberts Maneuver or applying suprapubic pressure to prevent further injury.

Unfortunately, many cases of SD are the result of physician negligence or malpractice.

The information you need

Some causes of shoulder dystocia include:

  • Improper administration of an epidural
  • Incorrect use of forceps or vacuum extractor
  • Improper rotation of the infant’s head

In most cases of shoulder dystocia, the damage can be minimized by providing immediate medical attention to both the baby and mother. However, some long-term effects for a baby that has gotten stuck during the delivery process may include:

  • Nerve injury to the shoulder, arm, or hand resulting in shaking, paralysis and/or pain
  • Fracture of the clavicle or humerus in the arm in question
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain which can, in rare cases, result in brain damage or death

Treatment for SD depends upon the severity of the injury. Babies who have experienced brachial plexus injuries may require a multidisciplinary approach which could include physical therapy, occupational and/or hydrotherapy, or even surgical intervention.

Why you should take action today

SD can result in lifelong problems for an injured child, both physical as well as cognitive, depending upon the severity of the injury, as well as costly medical and rehab bills for his or her parents.

If you feel that your child was a victim of negligence or malpractice, you may be able to file a lawsuit for shoulder dystocia to seek damages for the costs associated with medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitation services, and pain and suffering.

Scott S. Harris, shoulder dystocia attorney in San Diego, has more than 30 years of experience when it comes to helping children and their parents with birth injury claims. If a medical professional has been negligent during the birth of your child, resulting in serious injuries, contact Scott S. Harris, birth injury lawyer, to schedule a free consultation.