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Sandoval Firm

Shoulder Dystocia: Complications during Delivery Can Cause Lifelong Issues

Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer discusses shoulder dystocia

As a Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer, Richard A. "Rick" Sandoval meets many people who were vaguely familiar with the term shoulder dystocia before their child was born (having heard it in a labor and delivery class, for example), but never expected a birth injury or the impact one might have on their lives. Here is how he explains shoulder dystocia to his clients:

Shoulder dystocia is a delivery room emergency. Failure to handle the situation with the requisite standard of medical care may constitute medical malpractice. It is a condition in which the head of the fetus is delivered, but the shoulders get stuck. Once this condition is diagnosed, immediate measures need to be taken to deliver the baby. One mistake from the delivery room nurses or doctors can have lifelong consequences. A shoulder dystocia lawyer can help you hold your medical providers accountable and seek compensation for the injuries caused by their mistakes.

Risk factors

Shoulder dystocia is difficult to predict and may occur without warning. That said, potential risk factors include:

  • A large baby;
  • A post-term baby;
  • Any of the following conditions as related to the mother: diabetes; obesity; a previous delivery involving shoulder dystocia complications; carrying more than one fetus.

Medical intervention

Prompt action by the medical team in the delivery room will usually result in a positive outcome for both the mother and the child. Intervention usually includes some or all of the following:

  • Manipulating the mothers legs, so that her thighs are pressing against her abdomen;
  • Applying downward pressure to the mothers abdomen;
  • Rotating the baby;
  • Rotating the mother onto her hands and knees;
  • Episiotomy; and
  • Emergency C-section.

Possible complications

The mother may suffer hemorrhaging, a bruised bladder, and post-surgical complications related to an episiotomy or C-section. The baby may suffer a broken arm or collarbone; or palsy or paralysis as a result of nerve damage in the shoulder, arms and hand (though this usually resolves in 6-12 months). In rare cases, the baby may suffer brain damage or even death, as a result of lack of oxygen, if the umbilical cord is compromised.

Contact Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer, Richard "Rick" Sandoval

If you or your baby suffered complications related to shoulder dystocia, please contact me. I am a local Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer, with experience handling a range of birth injury cases, including shoulder dystocia. To schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation, call 505-795-7790or 1-866-BEST LAWYER (1-866-237-8529).

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