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Is Shoulder Dystocia Medical Malpractice?
January 31, 2022

What Happens if Shoulder Dystocia Occurs?

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder Dystocia is a condition that occurs during delivery when a baby’s shoulder is caught above the mother’s pubic bone. 

In cases of Shoulder Dystocia, doctors and nurses must timely recognize and address this medical emergency by utilizing well-known and accepted medical maneuvers to deliver the baby safely.

Effective and safe management of this emergency is possible.

What Happens if Shoulder Dystocia Is Not Properly Managed?

If Shoulder Dystocia is not timely recognized and properly managed by the healthcare provider, the network of nerves – called the Brachial Plexus – that carries signals from the baby’s spinal cord to the shoulders, arms and hands can be stretched and permanently damaged.  When these nerves are damaged, the damage can result in Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Palsy.  Fetal hypoxia or fetal death can also result if Shoulder Dystocia is not timely managed.

What is Erb’s Palsy / Brachial Plexus Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy, also known as Brachial Plexus Palsy, is a potentially lifelong condition that occurs when the nerves that provide movement and sensation to the shoulders, arms and hands are damaged.

Living with Erb’s Palsy / Brachial Plexus Palsy

Long-term effects of Erb’s Palsy / Brachial Plexus Palsy include impaired movement, weakness and muscular atrophy in the affected arm.  In some children, the affected arm is noticeably smaller than the unaffected arm.  Living with the long-term consequences of a Brachial Plexus injury can make it difficult to perform everyday activities. 

Children with Brachial Plexus injuries often require long-term physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Surgery may be recommended to improve the function of the arm and hand.  Many children with Brachial Plexus injuries continue to experience weakness, disability and disfigurement despite treatment.

Speak With A Providence Birth Injury Attorney

If your baby or child has suffered an injury that you believe may be the result of medical malpractice, the birth injury lawyers at Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd. want to hear your story. Our firm possesses the specialized knowledge needed to successfully handle these very complex and difficult cases.

See our results.

Contact our office online or call (401) 273-8330 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We will discuss the details of your case, provide an honest case evaluation, and explain your rights and legal options. Our firm serves clients in Providence, Rhode Island and other areas.