How you treat shoulder dystocia depends on what works to deliver the baby quickly. In most cases, the McRobert’s position is the first attempt, and it often works. The McRobert’s position requires the medical care team will push the mother’s knees up toward her chest. Then, the doctor may apply suprapubic pressure to free the baby.
If this is not effective, there are other specific maneuvers the doctor may recommend, including the Jacquemier maneuver and the Letellier maneuver. If neither of these methods work, the doctor may attempt to push the baby back into the uterus and deliver them via an emergency C-section.
Once the baby is delivered, doctors may need to take certain steps to help the baby recover, possibly including resuscitation. If the baby was injured during delivery, they may have new conditions that require treatment.
If doctor negligence caused injury to a newborn during shoulder dystocia, the family may be able to pursue compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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Understanding Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia is a diagnosis of a complication that occurs during birth. This happens when the baby’s head is delivered, but their shoulders become lodged in the mother’s pelvis, and the mother cannot deliver the baby as a result.
In many cases, shoulder dystocia occurs because the baby is large. It is also possible that the mother has an unusually small pelvis, and an average-sized baby gets stuck.
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Shoulder Dystocia Can Cause Lasting Damage
How you treat shoulder dystocia takes into consideration that this birth complication is a serious medical emergency. The baby could suffer significant medical problems if they are not delivered as soon as possible, including catastrophic brain injury or even death. In some cases, the baby may not be able to breathe and get support from the umbilical cord if it becomes compressed.
This may cause the baby to experience hypoxemia, and brain damage or death is a possibility if the infant is not delivered rapidly. Babies that survive this situation could suffer cerebral palsy or another lasting brain injury.
Even when the baby is delivered quickly using one of the non-invasive techniques the doctor should try first, they may still suffer injuries. Some of the most common are brachial plexus palsies. The American Family Physician reports that between 4 and 15 percent of babies that experience shoulder dystocia suffer this type of injury. These injuries to the nerves that control sensation and movement in the arm usually heal completely, but some babies could sustain lasting impairment.
Shoulder Dystocia Complications and Birth Injury Lawsuits
In some cases, shoulder dystocia is preventable. Many of the factors that can increase the risk for this complication may be recognized by the doctor and medical professionals monitoring the pregnancy before labor begins or as delivery progresses. In some cases, calling for a C-section may be necessary to avoid a risky vaginal delivery.
You may be able to hold the doctor, clinic, or hospital liable for your child’s injuries if:
- The doctor failed to identify the risk factors
- The doctor failed to make a good judgment about proceeding with a vaginal delivery based on the risk factors
- The doctor failed to take the right steps to delivery your baby safely once the problem was identified
- Doctor negligence injured your baby in any way during prenatal care or delivery
Depending on the laws of your state, you may need to produce testimony from a medical expert witness that the care you received fell below a reasonable medical standard.
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Speak to a Member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group Team Today
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you today. We represent families nationwide in medical malpractice lawsuits for a wide range of birth injuries.
If you believe your child suffered lasting injuries as a result of shoulder dystocia or an incorrect treatment for shoulder dystocia, call us at (800) 222-9529. A member of our team can provide you with a free, no-obligation case review.
If we believe you have a strong case, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can offer you representation on a contingency-fee basis with no attorney fees due unless and until you recover compensation via a settlement offer or court award. When we work together on your case, our firm can manage all communications, evidence gathering, and legal work on your behalf.