Shoulder Dystocia Injuries

The doctor said “shoulder dystocia”. What does it mean? Shoulder dystocia is used to describe a delivery, where after the delivery of the head, the shoulder of the infant cannot pass below the mother’s pubic symphysis (“pubic bone”). Shoulder Dystocia Injuries Following shoulder dystocia deliveries, 20% of babies will suffer some sort of injury

It’s diagnosed when the shoulders don’t deliver shortly after the head. Shoulder dystocia is an emergency. The baby can die if not delivered. Unfortunately, several hundred babies are born each year in the United States with permanent injuries following shoulder dystocia deliveries.

Following shoulder dystocia deliveries, 20% of babies will suffer some sort of injury, either temporary or permanent. The most common of these injuries are damage to the brachial plexus nerves, fractured clavicles, fractured humeri, contusions and lacerations, and birth asphyxia.

There are two major types of brachial plexus injury: Erb palsy and Klumpke palsy.

Erb palsy, involves the upper trunk of the brachial plexus (nerve roots C5 through C7). This affects the muscles of the upper arm and causes permanent disfigurement of the victim called "winging". The muscles of the wrist that are controlled by C6 may also be affected. These injuries result in a victim having their upper arm bone pulled in towards the body and internally rotated with the forearm extended. It can be referred to as the "waiters tip" position.


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Klumpke palsy involves injuries to nerve roots in the neck, C7, C8, and T1. When this happens, the arm flexes at the elbow and the victim’s palm faces the shoulder with a characteristic clawlike deformity of the hand. Sensation in the palm of the hand is diminished.

Physicians need to focus on preventing shoulder dystocia related injuries. However, when they do occur, according to our legal system, that doctor can be held liable for all the costs and the pain and the suffering associated with the injured baby and the family of the baby.

If you or someone you know has suffered an shoulder dystocia injury that you believe was caused by a doctor, nurse or hospital’s mistake, call the shoulder dystocia injury lawyers at The DiCello Law Firm. Our eye injury lawyers who specialize in such cases will help you. We regularly work with some of the most accomplished experts in the country to obtain compensation for the shoulder dystocia injuries a love one has suffered due to the mistakes of another.