Posted on 12/13/2021

Can You File A Malpractice Lawsuit For Shoulder Dystocia?

Can You File A Malpractice Lawsuit For Shoulder Dystocia?

You may not have been told before, but shoulder dystocia is preventable. 

If your child has suffered from an injury as a result of shoulder dystocia, continue reading to find out if you can file a shoulder dystocia lawsuit.

So what is shoulder dystocia? How is it prevented? What kind of injuries are involved; and what should you do if your child has been diagnosed? 

We’re going to answer each of these questions and share how you can get a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney.

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What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia occurs while giving birth and in most cases can be prevented if handled properly.

Shoulder dystocia quite literally means shoulder dys (difficult) + tocia (birth relating) and is a birth injury, or trauma. It occurs when your baby’s head is able to proceed safely, however their shoulders remain stuck inside your womb. 

When shoulder dystocia occurs, there are several methods to untrap your baby’s shoulders.

In fact, many doctors use the HELPERR mnemonic to help them remember every method proven to help in the event of shoulder dystocia.

HELPERR stands for: Call for Help, Evaluate for episiotomy, Legs (use the McRoberts Maneuver), Subrapubic Pressure maneuver, Enters maneuvers, Removing the posterior arm and Rolling the patient.

If your medical professional fails to recognize the need for any of the above maneuvers, or if they fail to properly provide the above maneuvers, they can be held legally liable for negligence in a shoulder dystocia lawsuit. 

This can also apply to the hospital and those providing care under the hospital. They too can be held legally responsible for any damages that may occur from shoulder dystocia.

Unfortunately, the damages, or risks, involved with shoulder dystocia are typically life-long.

Risks and Injuries Involved with Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia can not only cause damage to yourself, but damage to your baby as well. 

The following are the four most common types of injuries your baby may experience that are associated with shoulder dystocia:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Developmental Damages

Cerebral Palsy 

Cerebral Palsy occurs whensde,mq shoulder dystocia is mishandled. This results in a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain.

It can affect your baby’s motor development — such as possibly experiencing difficulties with their balance, coordination and posture.

Erb’s Palsy 

This is a form of weakness, or paralysis (palsy), affecting the upper arm (brachial) and a combination of nerves (plexus).

Erb’s palsy affects 1-2 of every 1,000 babies and is one of the common brachial plexus injuries during birth. Erb’s palsy typically affects your child’s shoulders and biceps development and can cause muscle weakness or paralysis.

Klumpke’s Disease

A rare yet permanent disease, Klumpke’s disease is another type of brachial palsy. However, it affects your baby’s lower arm and hand. Signs your baby may have Klumpke’s disease include paralysis, weakness, or loss of movement in the lower arm and hand. 

Development Damages 

This can include a wide range of motor and nerve disabilities, such as: 

  • Motor disabilities can include lack of hand-eye coordination, posture, difficulties with balancing. Motor disabilities can prevent a child from participating in many physical activities. 
  • Nerve disabilities are also permanent and can include loss of sensation, muscle weakness and even muscle paralysis or weakness.

These injuries can be prevented and are typically caused due to hardships during the delivery due to shoulder dystocia. 

Examples of delivery hardships include a high gestational size, breech birth (baby is born bottom first instead of the head), and prolonged labor. 

These examples are prevented with proper medical planning and execution.

Medical Negligence and Shoulder Dystocia

Your medical professional, or the hospital, can be held legally responsible in a shoulder dystocia lawsuit if you or your baby have severe injuries due to shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia technically falls under negligence in medical malpractice and can be difficult to prove.

Speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. They can clarify medical negligence and what it may mean for your shoulder dystocia lawsuit.

An example of negligence would be if your medical professional failed to check the weight of your baby. Therefore they weren’t prepared for delivery with a high gestational size, which would require careful planning.

Another example of negligence is if your medical professional failed to provide, or properly provide, the HELPERR maneuvers we discussed earlier. 

This means your doctor stayed in one of the maneuvers for too long instead of trying another maneuver or if your doctor improperly placed their hand and pushed too hard on another part of your body, thus causing further injuries.

If you’re reading this and any of this is causing you to pause, we highly encourage you to reach out to a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your possible shoulder dystocia lawsuit.

When and How do you File for a Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuit?

Every legal case has a Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations is essentially how long you have to file your medical malpractice lawsuit, or in this case, your shoulder dystocia lawsuit. 

Every state has their own rules in regards to the Statute of Limitations, as well. In Michigan, you typically have 2 years upon noticing the injury, or 2 years from the injury, to submit your medical malpractice lawsuit.

It’s extremely beneficial to speak with a medical malpractice attorney to review the Statute of Limitations with you and what it may mean for your case. 

Call and speak with one of our well-respected and trusted medical malpractice lawyers over a free consultation. We can provide our legal expertise regarding shoulder dystocia lawsuits and what to expect when you’re ready to file a shoulder dystocia lawsuit.

Fill out our brief form and we’ll reach out to you. Let us help you get the compensation and relief you deserve.

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels