Shoulder dystocia occurs when, after the delivery of the baby’s head, the baby’s anterior shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. When this happens, the remainder of the baby’s body cannot easily be delivered vaginally. Shoulder dystocia can lead to permanent birth injuries, such as brachial plexus nerve injuries, fractured clavicles, and birth asphyxia.
How Does a Doc Know it’s Shoulder Dystocia?
Birth injury due to shoulder dystocia can be reduced by proper, non-negligent care by an obstetrician. One of the most important things the obstetrician must do is to recognize shoulder dystocia when it is happening. A sure sign that shoulder dystocia could be complicating the birthing process is when the baby’s body does not emerge with the typical pushing and standard movements normally used by the obstetrician to facilitate the birth. Another indicator is the “turtle sign”. This is when the baby’s head emerges and then retracts back like a turtle pulling back into its shell. This retraction occurs because the baby’s anterior shoulder is stuck. When shoulder dystocia has been determined, a backup obstetrician should be called and the delivery team should ready themselves for any possible complications.
There are also a few specific obstetrical maneuvers that have proven beneficial, and they should carefully be employed. It is important that the obstetrician recognize the shoulder dystocia issue, be knowledgeable in the different appropriate maneuvers to attempt to remove the shoulder dystocia, and then implement these maneuvers in a controlled, careful manner. Failing to follow these important recommendations, and failing to properly use and try the different approved maneuvers, can be seen as negligence on the part of the obstetrician. The obstetrician’s negligence that causes permanent injury to baby is negligence that should be compensated.
Birth Injury and Shoulder Dystocia Attorneys in NJ and PA
If your child was injured at birth and you now have questions regarding your legal rights, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may call (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia. Let our experienced team answer any questions you may have.