The word “dystocia” means, a difficult birth or labor. Shoulder dystocia is when there is a difficult time delivering a baby due to one or both of the baby’s shoulders getting stuck in the birth canal or on the mother’s pelvic bones and not allowing the baby to be delivered. When an obstetrician, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, or nurse realizes that a baby has a shoulder dystocia, they have to work quickly and safely to make sure the baby does not suffer a lack of oxygen to the brain, stretch nerve injuries, or serious nerve injuries. If a baby’s shoulder dystocia is not treated properly, it could cause permanent brain damage, Erb’s palsy, or a permanent brachial plexus injury.
Know the Risk Factors of Shoulder Dystocia
Your doctor or nurse midwife need to be aware of the risk factors that could lead to a shoulder dystocia such as, gestational diabetes and a large baby, breech position, a small mother, large weight gain during a pregnancy, overdue baby, obese mother, a small pelvis, a previous pregnancy with a large baby or a previous pregnancy with a shoulder dystocia. Your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife should be aware that any of these circumstances could lead to your baby developing shoulder dystocia during labor and delivery.
High Standard of Care to Prevent Birth Injury Not Always Upheld
Once a shoulder dystocia is recognized, there are certain things your physician, nurse, or midwife should do to help release the shoulder that is stuck. The first thing that is usually tried is having the mother reposition her legs to help widen the birth canal. If that does not work, gentle pressure may be applied to the mother’s lower stomach area. Sometimes, the doctor or nurse will try to turn and rotate the baby to see if that releases the shoulder that is stuck. If all those measures fail to free the shoulder the doctor or midwife may break the baby’s clavicle or collar bone to safely deliver the baby. If none of those procedures work, a C-Section will have to be performed. The key is to quickly and safely release the stuck shoulder.
Damage to the brachial plexus nerves can be mild or severe. Klumpke’s Palsy will cause paralysis of the fingers and hands. Horner’s Syndrome can cause the eyelid to droop and an uneven pupil size. Erb’s Palsy causes the arm to stay close to the body, with the palm facing backwards and no movement of the arm from below the elbow. A Complete Brachial Plexus Injury is the most severe and causes total paralysis or no use of the affected arm. Each one of these injuries can happen either due to rupture of the nerves, stretch injury of the nerves, crush injury to the nerves, neuroma or scar tissue development, or an avulsion injury where the nerve is no longer attached to the spine.
Some brachial plexus injuries may get better as time passes. However, some brachial plexus cases are so severe that the injuries may be permanent. Once a brachial plexus injury is diagnosed, the infant will be started on physical therapy and watched for a few months to see if the nerve damage is getting better. If the nerve damage is not getting any better, it may require surgery to try and repair the nerve damage.
Superb Legal and Medical Teams Winning Your Battles
The nationally known Beasley birth injury law firm in Philadelphia has been successfully litigating shoulder dystocia and Erb’s Palsy lawsuits with substantial results. In addition to our experienced attorneys, we also have on staff two physicians and three registered nurses, two of them that specialized in pregnancy, labor, and newborn care, in addition to decades of expertise that made them a leader in this field. Our nurses have witnessed hundreds of shoulder dystocia labors, just like the one you or a loved one experienced. Their collective knowledge assisted in obtaining two of the largest medical negligence verdicts in Pennsylvania history, $100 million and $55 million, as well as countless other multimillion dollar judgments and settlements. To date, we have been awarded over $2 billion dollars on behalf of our clients.
Our highly specialized teams of nurses and doctors have witnessed thousands of labors and births. Our Philadelphia shoulder dystocia attorneys know that what can start out as a normal, healthy labor, can quickly turn into an emergency. If your nurse, obstetrician, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife does not pay attention to signs that your baby developed shoulder dystocia, you and your baby can be seriously harmed. Here at the Philadelphia Beasley medical malpractice law firm, we recognize that. Over the last 50 years, we have successfully represented both mom and baby in incidents that involved shoulder dystocia and Erb’s Palsy.
We understand all the pain and suffering you and your family are experiencing right now and we can help you. If you or a loved one has been wrongfully injured due to a birth injury, contact one of our experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at 1-(888) 823-5291. As always, we offer a zero fee guarantee which means that if we don’t make a recovery on your behalf, you don’t owe us a dime. We always offer a free, no obligation consultation.