Dystocia is a common occurrence during labor, affecting thousands of mothers and babies across the nation every day. Dystocia simply means that labor has stalled. The most common reason for dystocia is the baby’s shoulders becoming stuck in the birthing canal, hence the name shoulder dystocia. When handled properly in a calm, organized fashion, the baby can be delivered safely with no permanent injury to the child or the mother.
However, when the doctor delivering the baby becomes flustered or anxious, especially if they have little experience with handling shoulder dystocia, the situation can become more problematic.
What Causes Shoulder Dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia can be attributed to a variety of causes, including a very large baby, an overweight mother or a mother with a smaller sized pelvis. However, these are not the only causes of shoulder dystocia. In many cases, dystocia simply occurs as a complication of labor without a clear cause. More important than why shoulder dystocia occurs is how it is handled. Failure to have a plan in place for what will be done if shoulder dystocia occurs can lead to anxiety and frustration for the obstetrician, and can put the baby in danger.
Complications of Shoulder Dystocia
When handled calmly and with expertise, shoulder dystocia can be resolved with little to no fanfare or problems for the baby and the mother. However, complications can arise, including a brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy), neurological damage, broken bones, oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) and in some cases, death of the child. Most frequently, these serious complications of shoulder dystocia occur when a doctor becomes upset or flustered by the baby getting stuck in the birth canal, and attempts to pull the baby out. Babies’ bodies are small and delicate, and pulling can cause the baby’s nerves to stretch or become damaged. Putting too much force on the child too quickly while in the birth canal can result in devastating injuries at a time that should be joyous.
What to Do If Your Baby Was Injured As a Result of a Doctor’s Negligence
If you or a loved one experienced shoulder dystocia during labor and the doctor’s inability to handle the situation calmly and effectively caused the baby injury or even death, you may be eligible for compensation. Although compensation will never make up for the injuries and emotional trauma that occurred as a result, it can help pay for the extensive medical bills and costs of care associated with raising a child with a disability.
At the Rossman Law Group, we have represented many families who have been the victim of a doctor’s negligence during the birth of their child, and can provide you with sound legal advice and zealous advocacy. You don’t have to let a doctor pass off preventable injuries as unforeseen complications of birth. Contact a skilled Boise birth injury lawyer at Rossman Law Group today at 208-331-2030 to set up a consultation to discuss your case. Our compassionate injury attorneys are available now to assist you and your family.