Shoulder Dystocia

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Philadelphia Shoulder DystociaShoulder dystocia is a birth injury that happens during the birthing process when the head passes, but the shoulder is caught. When this occurs, doctors apply force via hands, forceps, or a vacuum to aid in the birth. However, when excessive force is used, the shoulder and brachial plexus can be injured and can cause a host of temporary and permanent medical conditions.

Shoulder Dystocia Risk Factors

While there are many factors that can contribute to shoulder dystocia, medical staff should take special care when dealing with:

  • Women who give birth at 42 weeks or more
  • Infants expected to weigh 9 pounds (4,082 grams) or more
  • Mothers who are diabetics
  • Women with multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Obese patients
  • Induced labor
  • Women who received an epidural

Shoulder Dystocia Complications

Unfortunately, shoulder dystocia can cause a wide variety of complications for new born babies. Some of the most common complications include:

  • Difficulty moving their hand(s), arm(s), and shoulder(s)
  • Constant shaking that lasts for prolonged periods of time
  • Paralysis in one or more limbs
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain causing brain damage, coma, or even death

What is Brachial Plexus Palsy?

When additional maneuvers used in birthing to enable the delivery of the fetal shoulders go beyond gentle guidance, patients suffer serious injuries. This injury occurs in 0.2 to 3 percent of births and is called a brachial plexus injury. In fact, this injury is one of the most serious fetal complications, and can occur in 2 to 16 percent of all shoulder dystocia injuries. While some of these cases can be resolved with the child healed, up to 30 percent of them result in permanent neurologic impairment and some even end in death.

Shoulder Dystocia Lawyers

If you suspect your child may have suffered a shoulder dystocia and don’t know what to do next, then call the experienced birth injury lawyers at Lopez McHugh LLP can help. Not only can we analyze your situation and explain your legal options, we can also help you get justice for your child. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.


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