Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuit 2024 | Settlement for Three Typical Claims

Before you think of filing a shoulder dystocia lawsuit against a physician for shoulder dystocia, it’s important to have a proper understanding of when a healthcare provider can be held accountable after a child or mother suffers.

What is shoulder dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a birth complication where a baby’s shoulder becomes wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. Consequently, the infant is stuck inside the birth canal. Doctors don’t have much time to act during shoulder dystocia before the baby suffers from lack of oxygen to the brain & permanent injuries.

The incompetent, poorly prepared, and careless doctors don’t know how to resolve shoulder dystocia. They improperly use birth-assisting tools such as forceps that lead to physical injuries to the infant. Furthermore, they may also fail to act instantly. If a skilled and experienced doctor would have done something differently in similar circumstances, the defendant is found guilty of medical malpractice.

3 most commonly claimed deviations from the standard of care

  1. The physician/midwife should have been able to predict the occurrence of shoulder dystocia.
  2. There were enough risk factors present that the mother should have been given the option of going through a cesarean section.
  3. The permanent brachial plexus injury suffered by the plaintiff could only have occurred because the doctor pulled too hard when encountering shoulder dystocia and didn’t act as per the standard of care.

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How to prove a shoulder dystocia lawsuit

All physicians should know what to do in the event of shoulder dystocia to prevent one of the above-mentioned birth injuries. However, failure to act quickly and appropriately may constitute professional negligence. As the parents of an injured child, you can file a claim for mishandling of shoulder dystocia. 

With an in-depth investigation into the birth of your child, the shoulder dystocia lawyer in Philadelphia helps you prove the negligence of someone involved. The foremost goal of a shoulder dystocia case is to prove that the professional understood the emergency and dealt with it improperly.

In addition, you must prove a breach of duty and the resulting injuries to your child. A successful birth injury case will help you get fair compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.

Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuit

Common injuries caused by improper management of shoulder dystocia

It is an injury to the upper nerves leading from the spinal cord. Children with Erb’s palsy suffer from full or partial paralysis of the arm.

It is an injury to the lower nerves leading from the spinal cord. Children suffering from Klumpke’s palsy have paralyzed forearms and hands.

When shoulder dystocia causes prolonged lack of oxygen, a child loses important brain cells and suffers from developmental delays.

Lack of oxygen leads to shoulder dystocia and can also cause cerebral palsy.

Nevertheless, if you think the use of excessive force or negligence by a healthcare provider may have caused your infant’s injuries, contact Ethen Ostroff Law to discuss your options.

Risk factors of shoulder dystocia

A baby over 8 pounds and 13 ounces has more chances of shoulder dystocia. Similarly, a mother with a small pelvis or a short stature is at more risk of shoulder dystocia during delivery.

A prior delivery with complications increases the risk of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury. Cesarean section should be used in subsequent deliveries to avoid similar complications.

Weight gain of 30+ pounds and gestational diabetes corresponds to larger baby size and a higher risk of shoulder dystocia and even shoulder dystocia death.

Any abnormalities in dilation or descent show that the baby is a tight fit and at a higher risk of shoulder dystocia.

These tools do not shift the baby’s position in the birth canal. As a result, the use of vacuum or forceps interferes with the delivery process by pulling the baby straight down increasing the chance of shoulder dystocia.

What do the doctor’s medical malpractice lawyers argue?

The arguments that the defendant’s medical malpractice lawyers make in shoulder dystocia cases vary from case to case. One thing is for sure: the doctors will paper the file with excuses. However, not all shoulder dystocia cases are caused by medical malpractice. But in compressed dystocia claims, here is a list of arguments doctors’ medical malpractice lawyers make:

Even if the delivering doctor applied excessive force, they did so because there was no alternative.

As lateral traction is the only known cause of Erb’s palsy in head-first vaginal deliveries, it is a breach of the standard of care because the procedure cannot free the shoulder anyway.

The baby was delivered without any incident. Moreover, the baby’s complications must have occurred in utero. In support, the attorney points to the medical literature supporting this proposition.

The baby’s malpractice attorney and their medical expert counter these articles by pointing out they do not report the case by treating obstetricians. Instead, the articles review medical records of mothers with infants who had shoulder dystocia. However, if the physicians do not admit to how the delivery occurred, the articles become utterly useless.

The shoulder dystocia occurred because the fetus was too big.

Shoulder dystocia is predictable. Typically, some signs forebode a large baby such as the mother previously having large children, diabetes, or maternal obesity. A sonogram can also assist in predicting birth weight. If this information leads the doctor to believe that the baby is going to be excessively large, preventive steps should be taken. (A baby weighing more than 8.13 ounces at birth has more risk of suffering from shoulder dystocia during birth than a child weighing less.)

Hiring a skilled and experienced attorney for your shoulder dystocia lawsuit improves your chances of winning.

Important evidence to use at trial

While suing for shoulder dystocia, you need to provide the following evidence:

    • Medical records from labor and delivery.
    • Pictures/videos taken by family members.
    • Testimony from friends and family members who were present and saw how the doctors and nurses reacted to the shoulder dystocia emergency.
    • Moreover, anything that the doctors and nurses said during the delivery is important to show that they understood the emergency and to show how they dealt with it.

The skilled medical malpractice lawyers know what to look for in these types of cases. Ethen Ostroff and his connections understand the mechanics of shoulder dystocia maneuvers that must be adhered to during delivery for doctors to meet the standard of care. We will provide you with a complete shoulder dystocia lawsuit guide to help you win your case with a hassle-free procedure.

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