Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia describes the condition wherein the shoulder of a fetus becomes lodged behind the pubic bone of the mother during a vaginal delivery.  The presentation demands swift action on the part of the attending medical staff in order to avoid inflicting permanent injury on the baby.  When shoulder dystocia becomes evident, certain medical standards dictate protocol. However when these standards are not met, the delivery team may be liable for medical malpractice.

If your baby suffered a birth injury connected with shoulder dystocia, you may be eligible to file a medical negligence lawsuit against the attending medical staff and/or the facility where the child was born. The Sanders Firm team of medical malpractice lawyers in New York may be able to help you file a shoulder dystocia lawsuit. Read more about other birth injuries.

Birth injuries related to shoulder dystocia

The frequency of shoulder dystocia is debated by medical professionals. Some say that it is an issue that goes underreported and occurs more often than we know. There have been studies that indicate the recording of shoulder dystocia as being between 25-50%. If the incident is underreported, it could be due to the medical professionals wanting to avoid the prospect of legal action on the part of the injured persons.

A permanent injury will occur in an estimated 20% of babies who suffer shoulder dystocia.  Injuries from shoulder dystocia can be significant and cause long term damage to the child.  Injuries generally include:

  • Brachial plexus injury; Erb’s Palsy
  • Bone fractures (examples are to the clavicle or collarbone; and the humerus)
  • Brain damage
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Bruises; contusions
  • Lacerations

Though physical harm is more likely as doctors attempt to free the baby from the obstruction, the baby faces an added risk of having its oxygen totally cut off (asphyxia). If this happens, then the baby becomes susceptible to possible brain damage or cerebral palsy, conditions which can occur if oxygen levels are not quickly restored.

Risk factors for shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia may be more likely under certain circumstances including:

  • Petite or obese mother
  • Mother with an abnormal pelvic anatomy
  • Diabetes in the mother
  • Larger than average fetus
  • Prior instance of shoulder dystocia in the mother
  • Preeclampsia

Filing a shoulder dystocia lawsuit in New York

If your child experienced shoulder dystocia at delivery and suffered a subsequent birth injury, you and your child may be entitled to compensation. The Sanders Firm has been bringing medical malpractice lawsuits in New York for over 40 years. Over the years, our birth injury team has become a reputable force both in and out of the courtroom.  Our success is built on a network of top legal talent, medical professionals and investigators who work tirelessly on behalf of victims of medical negligence.

Contact us for a free legal evaluation of your case.   We have  convenient office locations throughout New York, including Manhattan, Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The consultation is free and you pay nothing unless we win your case. Call toll-free: 1.800. FAIR PLAY(800.324.7752).