While the United States has a respected healthcare system that is influential, cutting-edge, and technologically advanced, mistakes do happen, and not all medical professionals follow the rules. Regrettably, a significant number of babies are injured before, during, and shortly after birth. Of course, there are many instances where birth-related injury could not have been prevented, but medical malpractice is more common than most people realize — and more common than people probably want to believe.
For every 1,000 babies born alive each year in this country, six suffer from a birth injury. One such commonly preventable childbirth complication is shoulder dystocia. If it is not immediately diagnosed, shoulder dystocia can result in serious harm and often permanent injury. It occurs when the baby’s shoulders are too big to pass through the birth canal during delivery and get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. Shoulder dystocia has been estimated to occur in 0.5% to 1.5% of all deliveries, which translates into hundreds of newborns each year. Some infants even die following severe dystocia cases.
The risk of shoulder dystocia increases if:
- The mother has a small pubic bone.
- The mother is obese.
- The mother is of advanced maternal age.
- The mother has gestational diabetes.
- The baby is large.
- The baby is not in an ideal position.
- The labor is induced.
- Shoulder dystocia occurred in a previous labor.
- The birth has to be assisted with a vacuum or forceps.
When a baby’s shoulder gets stuck, aside from the possibility the mother may suffer uterine rupture, hemorrhaging or lacerations, one major concern is damage to the upper brachial plexus nerves. These nerves affect the sensory and motor functions of the shoulder, arm, and hands. This particular injury often results in Erb’s palsy (sometimes referred to as Klumpke’s or Brachial plexus palsy). However, proper medical attention can help ensure that neither the mother nor the baby is injured. There are a variety of approved methods that can help maneuver the infant into the proper position for delivery, which has proven effective in cases where the shoulders are stuck. Another option is for the doctor to perform an emergency cesarean section, which, when handled quickly and calmly, can make all the difference.
Shoulder dystocia is a serious enough condition to be considered an obstetric emergency. If it is not identified or corrected quickly and a child suffers dystocia-related injuries, there may be cause to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is not always easy to legally determine whether a birth injury is the result of medical error or something unavoidable, which is why seeking legal counsel is recommended. Doctors rarely admit they did anything wrong, often make cryptic or otherwise vague notes, and don’t want to jeopardize their reputation. A knowledgeable attorney is well-versed in the highly technical, specialized field of medical malpractice law, and can assess the situation to determine the best course of action. If the healthcare provider failed to meet what’s considered the legal standard of reasonable care, they can be held financially responsible for the damage caused by their negligence.
If you think your baby’s dystocia-related injuries are the result of medical malpractice, you likely have a million questions and concerns. Your attorney will have some questions, too. You may be onto something if you had any of the abovementioned risk factors but were never informed of them. If you had significant potential for problems and your healthcare provider failed to diagnose them, failed to properly monitor you throughout labor and delivery, performed a delivery maneuver incorrectly, or failed to order an emergency C-section, your attorney will want to know.
Central Louisiana shoulder dystocia lawyer Chris J. Roy Jr., founder of the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm, understands how difficult it can be for families to deal with the trauma of medically negligent birth injuries. He seeks to ease the financial, mental, and physical burden that the litigation process can add by consistently communicating with you, as well as handling the complicated details so you can focus on your new bundle of joy. While the firm is large enough to supply the necessary resources to handle any type of personal injury, it is also small enough to provide the individual attention that your case deserves.
By choosing the Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm, you will benefit from nearly three decades of experience and skilled representation. Chris J. Roy, Jr. will carefully examine all possible avenues for compensation to make sure you get the best recovery possible. He handles claims from anywhere in Louisiana with a concentration in Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish, and Grant Parish. For a free consultation to find out your options, contact LA shoulder dystocia lawyer Chris J. Roy, Jr. by calling 1-318-987-8170 or filling out a case evaluation form.