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Understanding shoulder dystocia


In some rare cases in Oregon, a baby’s shoulders will become lodged in a mother’s birth canal, and the force of her body trying to push the baby out may cause severe injuries to them both. While a baby may suffer injuries that resolve within six months, he or she may also suffer from permanent disabilities or death.

A baby’s shoulders becoming stuck in the mother’s pelvis is called shoulder dystocia. Babies may suffer a number of different injuries, including Erb’s palsy, which occurs when there is damage to the baby’s nerves in the spinal cord and arms. It may cause the infant to have no movement in his or her arms and fingers as well as a loss of sensation in them. The injury may resolve after a few months or result in a permanent disability.

Babies may also be harmed by a loss of oxygen or sustain broken collarbones or arms. Mothers may suffer from hemorrhaging, ruptures to the cervix or uterus, tears to the bladder and other assorted problems. Babies could die from loss of oxygen and mothers from blood loss.

When birth injuries occur because of the actions of a negligent doctor or nurse, the families may want to talk to a medical malpractice attorney. Legal counsel may be able to assess what happened in order to make a determination about potential liability. The attorney may help the clients by negotiating with insurance companies in order to try obtain a settlement that will compensate the client for all of the losses that have been incurred. If one cannot be reached, an attorney may then decide to proceed with a lawsuit.