Shoulder dystocia is a common birth complication

Shoulder dystocia is a common birth complication

Recently, celebrity news reported on the death of an infant following complications from birth. Accounts note that the child experienced shoulder dystocia and a compressed umbilical cord.

Shoulder dystocia is one of the top five most common birth complications.  Other common concerns include delays in labor and delivery, perinatal asphyxia, and abnormal fetal heartbeat. 

Shoulder dystocia occurs when one or both of a baby’s shoulders get stuck behind the mother pubic bone. It is a medical emergency that must be addressed immediately. Potential injuries include brain damage as a result of the child being deprived of oxygen, brachial plexus injuries, and death.  Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to the bundle of nerves near the shoulder, causing the infant to lose movement completely or partially in their arm.

While shoulder dystocia may be unexpected, when a birth emergency occurs, medical professionals need to act quickly to determine if any emergency measures need to be taken, such as a cesarean section. While taking emergency measures does not guarantee that the baby will be delivered without injury, it can substantially mitigate this risk.

The failure to act quickly to eliminate or reduce the risks may constitute medical negligence when the mother or baby is harmed. Often the harm that occurs is catastrophic.

For more information about shoulder dystocia, brachial plexus, or any other birth injury, please contact the dedicated and compassionate California birth injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson for an immediate consultation.


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