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Miami Shoulder Dystocia Attorneys

How Shoulder Dystocia Occurs

Shoulder dystocia is when an infant’s shoulders are lodged into a mother’s pelvis during birth. This often takes place when a woman is forced to have a natural birth when their child is too large to travel through the vaginal canal. One of two medical issues can cause this specific scenario. 1) The mother’s pelvis and birth canal may be too small to afford the space necessary for a child to pass through (cephalopelvic disproportion) or 2) a child may be extraordinarily large and cannot pass through a typical sized canal (fetal macrosomia). In other scenarios, a normal birthing process may turn difficult if a baby does not drop properly. This can lead to the child to being born face first (turtle syndrome) or being born feet first.

Symptoms & Injuries Associated with Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is usually apparent, as a baby’s shoulders will be stuck in the mother’s pelvic area while the head is outside. While newborns are flexible due to not completely developed bones, a doctor can easily injure a child.

Injuries an infant can suffer from complications resulting from shoulder dystocia include:

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that travels from the neck, through the shoulders, and down into the arms of a person. When a child is lodged in their mother’s pelvis, a doctor’s improper forcing of a child through the vaginal opening can cause the newborn to suffer from brachial plexus injuries. These may be as simple as a tearing of the protective layer surrounding the brachial plexus or the rupturing of nerve fibers throughout the brachial plexus’ path.

  • Broken Bones

As mentioned above, newborns are quite flexible as their bones have not yet solidified. However, newborns do have bone structures that can break if incorrectly pressured. Infants who are stuck in their mother due to shoulder dystocia are prime candidates for sustaining broken bones that can afflict newborns in their first months of life. These breaks are often attributed to the excessive force that doctors use when trying to dislodge an infant from their mother’s pelvis.

  • Facial Injuries

Infants birthed face first are likely to get shoulders stuck. As a mother pushes, the infant’s face may come out of the vaginal canal while the shoulders stay stuck. When this happens, doctors will sometimes use the child's face to pull the rest of the body out. If a doctor is improperly handling an infant’s face, the physician can end up harming the newborn.

Risk Factors Involved in Infant Shoulder Dystocia

Infants of pregnant mothers are much more likely to face shoulder dystocia complications during their births if the delivery involved any of the following:

  • Induced labor
  • Epidural use
  • Maternal obesity
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Fetal macrosomia
  • Late-term labor and delivery
  • Previous births resulting in shoulder dystocia
  • Deliveries involving more than one child

Sadly, in most cases, complication is avoidable. Fetal macrosomia, late-term labors, maternal obesity, and other known causes should be warning flags to medical staff and doctors that a natural birth may not be the healthiest option. If a pregnant mother has any of these risk factors, it is up to a doctor to decide if a C-section delivery is the right choice.

When a doctor forgoes a C-section and has a mother try to give birth naturally despite the warning signs, he or she should be held accountable for any injuries caused.

Call (305) 770-6335 for a Free Consultation.

If you believe that you or your infant’s birth injuries were avoidable but occurred due to a doctor’s negligence, our firm can help. Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. is known for keeping a low caseload so that our clients are treated with the utmost respect. With a combined 150+ years’ legal experience, our medical malpractice attorneys know how to help you and your family recover from your birthing complication. We believe what happened to you is not right. Let us help you hold the responsible medical staff accountable. Contact (305) 770-6335 for a free consultation with our team.

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