Every pregnant mom hopes for a smooth delivery, & a healthy baby. Thanks to a combination of the wonder of our bodies and evolution in medical science, the vast majority of deliveries are without serious complication. Thanks to advances in prenatal monitoring and screening techniques, many complications during labor and delivery can be detected early and planned for in advance, helping to ensure the safety of both mom and baby. Unfortunately, there are some complications that can’t be planned for, and instead we must rely on the expertise of our labor and delivery team to know how to handle unanticipated emergencies. One emergency labor complication that can never be anticipated is shoulder dystocia, when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind its mother’s pubic bone while it is being pushed through the birth canal. Although no doctor knows when this problem is going to occur, every doctor should know how to handle it effectively so serious injury does not result. If your baby was injured due to a doctor’s mishandling of shoulder dystocia, this is a form of medical malpractice. If your family has been harmed by this type of physician’s negligence, continue reading to learn more, or call (312) 236-2900 to speak to one of our Chicago birth injury attorneys.
Dealing with Shoulder Dystocia
When shoulder dystocia occurs, labor can no longer progress because the baby is trapped with his or her shoulder logic behind its mother’s pubic bone. The head, however, is through the birth canal. Even though the baby is caught, your body can’t stop the labor process, and powerful contractions will continue to put pressure on your baby’s head, neck, and umbilical cord. This emergency situation must be addressed immediately, or your baby could suffer serious injury, including oxygen deprivation.
Your delivery team should be ready to react at the first sign of shoulder dystocia, and prepared to employ one of the following measures so your baby can be dislodged and safely delivered:
- Bending the mother’s legs up to her chest – known as the McRoberts Maneuver.
- Pushing down on the mother’s stomach at a 45 degree angle.
- Rotating the baby manually from inside the birth canal.
- Performing an episiotomy, giving the baby more room for delivery.
- Pushing the baby back into the vagina and performing a Cesarean section.
- Surgically cutting into the mother’s pubic bone to make more room for the baby’s shoulder.
Shoulder Dystocia Injury
If the proper counteractive measure isn’t effectively and efficiently employed, serious injury could result. Injuries include:
- Erb’s Palsy, a brachial plexus injury characterized by nerve damage near the shoulder. Children with this injury can suffer loss of muscle coordination or full paralysis of the affected limb.
- Klumpke’s Palsy, another brachial plexus injury that affects nerves slightly lower down. Suffers have paralyzed forearms and hands.
- Cerebral Palsy or other developmental delays. When a shoulder dystocia causes oxygen deprivation, a child may suffer permanent brain damage.
If your child was injured due to a doctor’s mishandling of shoulder dystocia, an experienced attorney may be able to help. Please call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to schedule your free consultation with one of our Chicago birth injury attorneys. We’re ready to treat you with the care you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us, medical malpractice claims have some of the shortest statutes of limitations, and time to file yours may be running out.