Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injuries: What You Need to Know

Most parents would agree. There is nothing more overwhelming than the birth of a first child. No doubt there are feelings of joy, coupled with anticipation. What if something goes wrong? Unfortunately, problems can arise right in the delivery room.  For example, if shoulder dystocia occurred during the delivery, there’s the chance your baby suffered a birth injury.

You may not be familiar with the term shoulder dystocia, which at least one medical journal refers to as the “nightmare of obstetricians.”  Although it is considered a complication during delivery, many opine that it is possible to overcome. Unfortunately, permanent conditions may occur if shoulder dystocia is not handled properly.

What happens to cause shoulder dystocia? As the baby passes through the birth canal, it essentially becomes “stuck” because the shoulders cannot pass through. Generally speaking, this happens because the baby is too big to pass through the birth canal. The following are considered risk factors for this occurrence:

  • Mother gained excessive weight during pregnancy
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Pregnancy is complicated by obesity
  • Post-term pregnancy

Doctors and midwives who deliver babies are well aware of the risk that a child could become entrapped in the birth canal. When this happens, the situation escalates to an emergency. Babies are at risk for oxygen loss and can suffer brain and nerve damage. Some children may be permanently affected by some type of palsy.

Notably, not all birth injuries associated with shoulder dystocia suggest medical malpractice. That said, you should still discuss any unusual occurrences during delivery with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Birth Injuries and Medical Malpractice

Tennessee has strict guidelines when it comes to filing a medical malpractice case for injuries that occurred during birth.  Lawsuits seeking recovery for issues concerning a negligent standard of care fall under the portion of the law that deals with health care liability.

Notifying medical providers is a critical part of the process with strict time limitations. It is critical to abide with the guidelines in the event your child has suffered an injury at birth and your case warrants investigation.

Contact Us

MHPS knows the importance of finding appropriate medical care and compensation for injuries that happened during birth. Contact us to set up an appointment.

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