Shoulder dystocia is a complication that arises during the delivery process which could cause birth injuries. This is when the infant’s shoulders become trapped in the mother’s pelvis. Shoulder dystocia could be caused by the size of the baby or by the birth position of the baby. When the shoulders are stuck against the pelvis or where the baby is being pulled out through the head and neck first, it places extreme pressure and force on the baby’s weak and vulnerable neck. This could compromise vital structures in the neck, particularly the brachial plexus nerves which extend from the spinal cord, through the base of the neck, and down the armpit to the fingertips. When this happens, families should call our Oregon shoulder dystocia lawyers to learn what their rights are to compensation.
Shoulder Dystocia is Usually Preventable
Shoulder dystocia is a complication that is usually preventable in the exercise of sound and competent medical care and treatment. Specifically pre-natal care, shoulder dystocia caused by large shoulders or a smaller pelvis are completely detectable in imaging studies such as an ultrasound or sonogram. These imaging studies allow healthcare providers to measure the size of the baby and the size of the pelvis and cervix to ensure that the baby can pass through without complication. Thus, pre-labor precautions and treatment can prevent shoulder dystocia.
In addition, during the labor and delivery process properly delivering the baby to ensure no undue stress on the head and neck is also imperative to ensure that no damage occurs to the baby. This means not pulling, yanking, or dragging the baby through the birth canal. Special care and attention should be done to ensure that baby’s head, neck, and shoulders are properly supported to avoid injury.
Signs of Birth Injuries from Shoulder Dystocia
Shoulder dystocia is an injury that occurs during the labor and delivery process. This means that the baby is unable to tell you what happened and what hurts. Parents and healthcare providers must evaluate a baby’s interactions and signs for injury. Some of the most common signs of shoulder dystocia injuries include the following:
Common Birth Injuries from Shoulder Dystocia
There are many possible Oregon birth injuries that could be caused by shoulder dystocia. These injuries are debilitating and could be temporary or permanent. Permanency is generally dependent on on severity of the nerve injury and what nerve is injury.
As for severity, the worst type of injury is an avulsion, where the nerve is pulled from the roots at the spinal cord. Also severe is a rupture which is where the nerve is torn or severed somewhere down the arm. The mildest types of nerve injuries are a neuroma, which is a damage to the nerve which causes scar tissue, or a neuropraxia which is damage to the protective sheath over the nerve called the myelin.
Next, the location of the damage governs what birth injuries the victim will sustain. This includes the following types of Oregon brachial plexus injuries due to shoulder dystocia:
Upper Arm – This is known as Erb’s Palsy, which affects the top of the arm and gives weakness, but usually function in the lower arm is preserved;
Lower Arm – This is known as Klumpke’s Palsy, which affects the lower arm and gives weakness with some sensation loss, but usually function in the upper arm is preserved;
Complete Arm – This is classified as a type of Narakas injury which affects the nerves coming from the spine at C5, C6, C7, C8, and T1. There could be full or partial loss of sensation, strength, movement, and other function.
Complete Arm, with Horner’s Syndrome – This is also a full arm paralysis, but also has some parallel nerve injury to the face which causes eyelid drooping, inability to sweat on one side of the face, and a contracted pupil.
Bend/Portland, Oregon Shoulder Dystocia Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.