Shoulder dystocia happens when a baby’s shoulders get stuck inside the birth canal during the delivery. “Dystocia” means difficult birth, and the condition results in a delay in delivery, which can cause serious health risks to both the baby and mother. If your baby suffered an injury related to shoulder dystocia, such as brachial plexus injury, Erb’s palsy, or Klumpke’s palsy, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. A shoulder dystocia birth injury lawyer can help you recover damages.
Newsome | Melton is a medical malpractice law firm that has a long track record of helping clients recover damages when they or their children suffer injuries from a medical provider’s negligence. We’re ready to put our resources to work for you. We offer a free case evaluation and work on a no-win-no-fee basis: we get paid only when you are compensated. To speak with a member of our team today, call 888-526-8947.
Your Doctor’s Duty of Care to Prevent Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia can cause injury to the mother and permanent damage to the child.
Your doctor has a duty to be proactive and take every step possible to account for and even prevent birth complications such as shoulder dystocia. This duty extends to other healthcare professionals who assist with the birth, such as nurses.
Doctors and healthcare professionals can anticipate shoulder dystocia by recognizing the risk factors that make a woman more susceptible. These include:
- The baby is larger than average
- The mother has diabetes
- It is a multiple-child birth
- The mother is obese
- The baby is born after the mother’s due date
- The mother experienced shoulder dystocia in previous childbirths
- The labor is induced
- The mother receives an epidural for pain relief
- The doctor uses the assistance of forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver the baby
If one or more of these conditions are present in a childbirth situation, the doctor and his or her staff must take special care to minimize the chances of shoulder dystocia and to address it as quickly and efficiently as possible if it occurs.
By failing to uphold his or her standard of care, a provider can cause a mother and baby to suffer serious injuries from shoulder dystocia. For the mother, potential complications include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Vaginal, rectal, anal, or cervical tears
Possible injuries to the baby include:
- Nerve damage, particularly in the shoulders and arms, which may lead to paralysis. While it may go away within a year, in severe cases it can be permanent.
- Anoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). This can result in permanent brain damage and even death.
If your baby suffered shoulder dystocia during childbirth, you could have grounds to recover damages from the facility where the delivery occurred or from any of the healthcare professionals involved in the delivery. A Newsome | Melton birth trauma lawyer can help. Call 888-526-8947 for a free case evaluation.
How Newsome | Melton Builds a Medical Malpractice Case for Shoulder Dystocia Birth Injury
The Newsome | Melton team has helped dozens of clients recover damage for children’s birth injuries. We want to help you, too. Our attorneys understand the elements of a successful birth injury medical malpractice case. The case must prove four conditions:
- Your doctor had a duty of care to you and your child
- Your doctor failed to uphold his or her duty
- Because of your doctor’s failure, you or your child suffered injury
- Because of your or your child’s injury, you incurred economic or non-economic losses
Duty of Care
For your doctor or healthcare provider to be liable for medical malpractice, he or she must have had a duty of care to you and your child. As long as you had an active doctor-patient relationship, this duty is implied, and it extends to any member of the doctor’s staff.
We can show the existence of this relationship by presenting insurance statements, billing paperwork, and other documents.
Once we establish that the responsible party had a duty of care, we must show that he or she failed to uphold this duty by acting negligently. We use the “reasonable professional” standard to demonstrate this. That is, would a reasonable professional in the same situation have acted differently?
We can call upon medical expert witnesses to play the role of the reasonable person. They can review the evidence and testify as to how a prudent doctor or healthcare professional would have acted differently.
We must also show how the responsible party’s failure to uphold his or her duty led to your or your child’s injuries. Our attorneys can make this connection clear and compelling using evidence like your medical records, lab test results, statements from other doctors, and expert witness testimony.
The last thing we must demonstrate is that you suffered economic or non-economic damages as a result of your or your child’s injuries. We will list these damages in detail, calculate the total cost of each loss you suffered, and negotiate for the full amount.
To schedule a free case evaluation with a shoulder dystocia birth injury lawyer today, call Newsome | Melton at 888-526-8947.
The Statute of Limitations on Birth Injury Lawsuits
If your child suffered injuries from shoulder dystocia, do not delay in taking action. Every state has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice cases. In some places, it can be as short as one year from the day of the delivery. If you let the statute expire, you will lose your right to seek damages.