Proper Care Needed to Prevent Shoulder Dystocia Injuries

Shoulder dystocia is a serious situation that often results in birth injuries that affect thousands of infants each year. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that while so many infants are hurt in this way each year, many in the community remain completely unaware of the injury, its causes, and how it can be prevented. Unfortunately, this is one of those injuries that are rooted closely with inadequate medical care being provided during a delivery. If excessive force or inadequate maneuvers are used in certain situations, harm can occur with a lifetime of repercussions for the child.

A recent Digital Journal story touched on the injuries and how they can often be prevented by careful conduct by involved medical staff during certain deliveries. The article explains how the injury involves a child’s shoulder getting stuck on a mother’s pelvic bone. This usually occurs after the baby’s head has emerged but while the shoulder is still inside the mother’s body. While undoubtedly stressful, when this situation occurs it is vital that careful maneuvers be used to extricate the child from the body safety. In this tense time it is vital that medical staff not give in to the tendency to use excessive force in order to get the child out of the body.

The recent story on the situation explained that an infant’s shoulder’s normally rotate during a delivery to pass through the pelvic bones at the appropriate angle. Yet, sometimes this doesn’t happen. Our Illinois birth injury attorneys know that there are situations where a child’s shoulders may be too big or a mother’s pelvic bone too narrow, leading to the risky situation of the shoulder’s getting stuck. However, just because the shoulders get stuck does not mean that an injury is guaranteed to occur. Steps can be taken to get the baby out without causing damage.

The healthcare journal Medscape has explained that the maximum amount of time that should pass between the birth of the head and the rest of the body during a delivery is six minutes. That is why careful, but quick thinking is required on the part of the medical staff when a shoulder gets stuck after the head has emerged. Over the years a series of maneuvers have been developed to either reposition the mother to resolve the problem or readjust the child and pelvic bone to provide for clear passage through the birth canal.

When excessive force is used on the child’s body at this time, injuries can occur. Brachial plexus injuries are common, which involve either temporary or permanent damage to the nerves running through the arm and down the shoulder. At other times a collar bone or arm bone can break. In certain situations the child can be deprived oxygen, leading to brain injury

There may be times when a child develops a birth injury even though a medical team did everything that they could to try to prevent it. However, at other times the injury could and should have been avoided. Unfortunately, it is often difficult for local family members to know the difference in their own situation. Part of the work of birth injury attorneys is to sort through the details of the situation and help families determine if mistakes were made in their own case which warrant legal action.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

“Junk Science” Used By Defense in Birth Injury Cases

Brachial Plexus Injury Primer

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