Shoulder dystocia is a condition that only happens in 0.2-0.3% of pregnancies. What happens is that the baby’s shoulders get stuck against the mother’s pelvis during delivery. This can cause a number of side effects to both the baby and the mother that require serious treatment.
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One of the major risk factors for shoulder dystocia is if your baby is too large before birth. If doctors detect this, they may advise that you undergo a C-section to avoid the possibility of trauma. But sometimes this warning doesn’t come fast enough or isn’t given at all. That’s what happened to one Minnesota mother.
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A jury awarded $8.9 million dollars to a mother in Minnesota according to the Star Tribune. According to the suit, an Allina Health nurse-midwife ignored concerns about the size of the baby. The baby was born with a broken right arm and severe nerve damage. The mother had been pregnant before and told the nurse-midwife that her son felt larger than her previous child. But the nurse-midwife said that the boy would weigh around six pounds. The average birth weight in the U.S. is 7.7 pounds.
When the 10.5-pound boy was delivered, shoulder dystocia occurred. The suit claimed that the midwife “grasped the baby’s head with excessive force” to free the child. The doctor had to step in and make an incision to complete the birth. The child required intensive care to repair function to the arm, but complications remain.
The hospital plans to appeal the case and the family has agreed to mediate a settlement.