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Shoulder Dystocia Malpractice

Shoulder Dystocia Malpractice

There are a lot of things that a new parent needs to worry about when taking on the challenge of raising a child. Severe and permanent injuries from the birthing process should not be one of them. Unfortunately, due to physician oversight, inattention, or improper training, some babies are harmed during their delivery.

During difficult deliveries, some doctors can make abrupt decisions to use tools such as vacuum extractors and forceps. These tools shouldn’t always be used, and, when they are they can be used in manners that cause brain damage or other trauma that likely will never be correctable for the child.

One of these issues is called shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s head is delivered, but the shoulders are not delivered shortly after. While permanent injuries do not often result, when they do they can be permanent and debilitating.

Some risk factors for shoulder dystocia are:

  • Overdue
  • Carrying multiples
  • Large fetus
  • Diabetes (incl. Gestational diabetes)
  • Small pelvis structure
  • Obesity
  • Prior incidence of shoulder dystocia

Complications that arise from shoulder dystocia can heal quickly after birth. If this is the case, they will usually desist within the first 6 to 12 months. If problems continue beyond the first year, they are likely to be permanent.

Complications from Shoulder Dystocia include:

  • Nerve damage in the shoulder, hands, and/or arms
  • Paralysis
  • Continuous shaking
  • Brain damage
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Fractured collarbone or arms

While it is not always possible for a doctor to know shoulder dystocia will occur, they should be aware of the possibility and be ready to address the complication when it arises. A prepared and well-trained staff can do their best to address this and any other complications.


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