An obstetrician or certified nurse midwife is a professional who is trained to handle all types of situations that may arise during the birthing process. One fairly unusual and often dangerous occurrence is shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia during delivery is a medical emergency that must be handled carefully. The likelihood of shoulder dystocia increases if the mother naturally suffers from gestational diabetes, if labor has been induced, and if the mother has had previous deliveries with shoulder dystocia, or if the mother is obese. However, when the obstetrician fails to anticipate a difficult delivery, a Phoenix shoulder dystocia lawyer at Knapp & Roberts can help you receive full compensation for your loss.
Shoulder dystocia happens during the second stage of labor as the uterine contractions push the baby into the birth canal: the baby’s head has come through the pelvis, but one or both of the shoulders get stuck behind the bony structure. This can happen for various reasons:
The mother’s pelvis is unusually small
The baby is large relative to the mother’s pelvis
The baby is not in the usual position
Anticipating and Overcoming Shoulder Dystocia for a Healthy Delivery
Prior to the beginning of labor, taking measurements of the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s size can alert the doctor to a possibility of shoulder dystocia and may indicate the need for a Caesarian delivery. If the problem has not been anticipated and a vaginal delivery has progressed to the delivery of the baby’s head, a skilled practitioner will be familiar with several different maneuvers that can bring about a healthy delivery.
Time is of the essence in a delivery with shoulder dystocia, and the physician or midwife must act quickly and deliver the baby in six minutes or less, or the baby could suffer lack of oxygen or damage to the central nervous system.
If the doctor or midwife panics and uses excessive and inappropriate force to try to pull the baby out, injury is likely.
Possible Injuries to a Baby during Delivery with Shoulder Dystocia
If the doctor or midwife has failed to anticipate cephalopelvic disproportion and the baby has come through a difficult delivery, there is a possibility of other types of damage as well:
Difficulty breathing, necessitating resuscitation
Fractures of the infant’s collar bone (clavicle) or humerus
Brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy, nerve damage in the shoulder causing weakness and restriction of motion in the shoulder and arm
Paralysis of the arm
Possible Injuries to the Mother
This delivery complication can cause injury to the mother as well as the baby:
Tearing of the perineum
Treatment of Erb’s Palsy Resulting from Shoulder Dystocia at Birth
If your baby is suffering from Erb’s palsy, he or she will require intensive physical therapy and exercises to improve the range of motion in the shoulder, elbow, hand, and wrist beginning at about three weeks of age, to prevent permanent joint contracture or stiffness. Sometimes surgery is an option in a younger child, but surgical complications are high. Nevertheless, the injury may be permanent, and the child may never have full use of the arm and shoulder. The affected arm may always be smaller than the unaffected one, which in addition to functional problems can affect the child’s body image and self-esteem, necessitating psychological treatment in addition to physical therapy.
Finding the Best Phoenix Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer
If your doctor or midwife failed to anticipate a difficult delivery that could have been prevented by a timely Caesarian section, or if he or she mishandled a vaginal delivery and caused permanent injury to your child, you may be able to recover damages for the cost of medical treatment, physical and psychological therapy, and your child’s pain and suffering and diminished quality of life. Proving negligence can be difficult and requires an well-versed Phoenix personal injury lawyer, with access to medical professionals who can identify where the obstetrician or midwife breached the expected standard of care that resulted in the injury.
Free Case Analysis
In Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding area, you will find the experienced legal assistance you need at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts. Our highly skilled medical malpractice attorneys are committed to justice for your child and to deterring carelessness and negligence by holding doctors, hospitals, and staff accountable when they fail in their duty to provide competent care to mothers and babies. We will fight for a recovery large enough to provide the best care for your baby, both now and in the future, so your child can achieve a happy and productive life after suffering this serious birth injury.
Call Knapp & Roberts today and tell us about your delivery and your baby’s injury. We will do a thorough case analysis at no cost to you, and will advise you as to your legal options. Your child deserves justice, and we will do everything the law allows to ensure it!
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.