Shoulder Dystocia

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An Injury That Can Lead To Further Complications

Shoulder dystocia is often unpreventable, occurring during delivery when the shoulder of the infant cannot pass below the pubic bone of the mother following the delivery of the head. This can result in the infant needing to be manipulated to facilitate delivery. If proper steps are not followed, injury to the Brachial Plexus (the nerves connecting the nerves of the arm to the spinal cord) may occur causing Erb’s Palsy.

Shoulder dystocia is often unpreventable

In reality, there are certain maneuvers or techniques which an obstetrician may perform during delivery of a newborn which increase the risk a child will suffer a brachial plexus injury due to shoulder dystocia. Once stark example is the application of fundal pressure which may worsen impaction of the anterior fetal shoulder behind the mother’s public bone. Fundal pressure is not to be used.

In contrast, ACOG sites the following as reasonable measures for an obstetrician to take in the event of shoulder dystocia:

Other techniques which an obstetrician should employ to free the impacted shoulder include the following:

If the hospital and medical staff present during labor and delivery failed to recognize and react to symptoms of Shoulder Dystocia, your child may have sustained injuries that could have been prevented. If you have questions about birth injuries your baby sustained during delivery due to Shoulder Dystocia, we invite you to contact the law firm of Lupetin & Unatin.

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