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Chicago Shoulder Dystocia Injury Lawyer

What Is Shoulder Dystocia? An Illinois Birth Injury Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

During birth, a baby may sometimes have trouble moving through the birth canal. When one or both of a child's shoulders become lodged in the mother's pelvic area, this is known as shoulder dystocia. The situation is a medical emergency. If a doctor does not quickly address this complication or uses improper force or pressure when delivering a child, significant nerve damage can result. This often leads to brachial plexus injuries and conditions such as Erb's palsy

Risk Factors

Doctors, nurses, or other members of a hospital's medical staff should recognize the risk factors for shoulder dystocia, which include:

  • Use of forceps or vacuum extraction
  • A child that is disproportionately too large for the birth canal, which can occur if the baby measures more than eight pounds before delivery
  • Delivery occurring after 40 weeks of gestation
  • Maternal diabetes or obesity
  • Induced labor
  • Use of an epidural
  • Previous cases of shoulder dystocia for the mother
  • Breech birth

Could My Child's Injury Have Been Prevented?

Whenever risks for shoulder dystocia are present, a doctor should consider whether a cesarean section is necessary in order to avoid the potential for shoulder dystocia and the harm that can result. The doctor should also discuss the risks of vaginal delivery and offer the mother a Cesarean section. If a baby is delivered vaginally, doctors and nurses must work together to prevent an injury. This means using only gentle traction to deliver your baby, and possibly rotating your baby's shoulders during delivery, among other maneuvers. An episiotomy may also be needed to prevent maternal injury. If equipment such as forceps or vacuum extraction is used during delivery, the doctor must avoid putting too much pressure on the child's neck and shoulders.

Brain Damage from Prolonged Dystocia and Other Injuries

Failure to properly monitor a mother or child or respond to complications during birth can not only cause nerve damage from shoulder dystocia, but in some cases, these complications can also result in a lack of oxygen to a baby's brain, which can lead to brain injuries or cerebral palsy. If complications are not addressed properly, they can also lead to maternal injuries, such as uterine rupture or hemorrhaging.

Recovery After Shoulder Dystocia Injury

If your child shows any sign of injury or reduced arm movement after delivery, he or she may ultimately be diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury, Erb's Palsy, or Klumpke's Paralysis. These injuries often last a lifetime. Your child may not be able to move their shoulder, arm, or hand. This is caused by underlying damage to nerves that were stretched or torn by excessive forces during the birthing process. There are surgical and therapeutic options to repair, and in some cases reattach, damaged nerves, but these are expensive and may not fully restore normal movement.

Costs of Caring for a Child with a Shoulder Dystocia Injury

The cost of caring for a newborn or child with a brachial plexus injury are great. Often, your child may need multiple surgeries and ongoing physical and occupational therapy to achieve the best possible outcome. Even then, your child may have difficultly pursuing certain sports interests or careers as they transition to adulthood. One study put the lifetime cost of traumatic brachial plexus injury at greater than $2.3 million. Because of the tremendous expense involved, and so you can provide the best possible care and outcome for your child, you should contact the Birth Injury Law Alliance to determine if we can help obtain financial compensation for your child's injury.

Get Financial Help for Your Child Now

Babies are born every day, but even though the arrival of a new child may be a routine event in hospitals, extreme care must be taken in every case to protect the health and safety of both the mother and the child. Unfortunately, mistakes made by doctors or nurses during labor and delivery can lead to serious birth injuries. Shoulder dystocia is one of the most common complications that can arise during birth, and it can cause significant nerve damage that will have long-lasting implications for a child.

If your child suffered an injury because of shoulder dystocia during the delivery process, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you understand your legal options. We will work to demonstrate how your family has been affected by medical negligence, ensuring that you can receive financial compensation that addresses the damages you have suffered and provides for your ongoing needs.

To arrange a free consultation and learn how we can help you receive the financial resources you need, contact our office at 312-945-1300.

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