Shoulder Dystocia

What should a doctor do if your baby’s shoulders get stuck in the birth canal during a vaginal delivery?  A physician must act quickly after the emergence of a baby’s head and shoulders, and a failure to act quickly can have a profound impact on your newborn’s health. There are recognized methods that a doctor must use to reduce the risk of injury to your baby’s shoulders while still acting promptly to avoid oxygen deprivation to the fetus. Failure to provide well recognized emergency care during delivery to avoid shoulder injury and avoid other injury to the fetus can amount to medical negligence.

Additionally, shoulder dystocia often can be avoided with proper efforts to detect a pregnant woman’s potential for birth complications prior to delivery. Keeping track of fetal size and weight is important to avoiding brachial plexus injuries, which are associated with shoulder dystocia, and likely to be known long before you go into labor. Though not all circumstances leading to shoulder dystocia can be discovered prior to delivery, careful training is provided to help doctors think and act quickly to ensure a smooth delivery.  Consult one of our attorneys if you have questions regarding shoulder dystocia related medical errors.