Shoulder dystocia is defined as a difficulty in birth that happens when the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck behind one of the mother’s pelvic bones during normal vaginal delivery. In a year, shoulder dystocia is experienced by more than 20,000 women during delivery in the United States and gives rise to a host of health problems to both the mother and the baby. In fact, shoulder dystocia is considered as a medical emergency as fetal death can occur due to compression of the umbilical cord.
The most common complication resulting from shoulder dystocia is brachial palsy, which occurs in about 20% of shoulder dystocia infants with about 10% resulting in permanent injury and dysfunction. In other words, about 400 babies are born each year in the U.S. with permanent brachial plexus injury due to shoulder dystocia deliveries. Other complications that can occur to the baby are fracture of the clavicle or humerus, Erb’s palsy, and contusions or bruises to the baby’s body, most occurring as a result of forced extraction. The most feared complication is fetal hypoxia (caused from cord compression and a lack of oxygen) leading to irreversible neurological damage and sometimes even death. For the mother the complications include excessive blood loss, lacerations of the vagina and rectum, uterine rupture, and post-natal depression.
There are several ways the risk for shoulder dystocia can be increased. These are:
Shoulder dystocia is one of the most feared complications of a normal vaginal delivery. If you think that you or your infant has suffered due to medical negligence, then do not hesitate to contact one of our shoulder dystocia attorneys today. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can help you make up for your financial losses, however unique the medico-legal aspects of your case may be, by bringing your claims to justice.