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What is Shoulder Dystocia?


What is shoulder dystocia? Watch the video below to get insight into what shoulder dystocia is and learn more about what you can do about birth injury.


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Video Transcript

0:00 Intro
0:51 What Is Shoulder Dystocia?
2:00 Delayed Delivery Due To Shoulder Dystocia
2:16 Brachial Plexus Palsy
2:55 Obstetrical Malpractice

People frequently ask me, what is shoulder dystocia? It’s a strange word that most people don’t know. Shoulder Dystocia is something that really needs explaining. When you’re dealing with this, you need people who fully understand the condition, the problems that it can cause, and what should be done if the obstetrician faces shoulder dystocia.

As a newborn intensive care specialist, I saw many cases like this. I could tell you from my experience that even if the baby doesn’t get brain damage from shoulder dystocia, it can be terribly disheartening to know that one arm or the other is not going to work properly as the baby grows.

0:51 What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

So let’s go back and talk about exactly what it is. When a baby is coming out of the birth canal, it usually comes head first. When the baby comes head first, it usually just slides out and does perfectly fine. But sometimes, and this is occasionally in babies who are particularly large, the shoulder gets stuck. The baby can be most of the way out, and everything is going fine, but you can’t do the rest of the delivery.

There are specific ways in which shoulder dystocia is supposed to be dealt with. Most good obstetricians know how to do that. Sometimes, however, even good obstetricians may panic when they realize that the baby is not coming correctly, and they may deliver it incorrectly.

All the complications should be noted in the chart. There is usually an observer at each delivery, and that person observes what’s going on and is watching the clock. So in most instances, they tell you exactly how long the shoulder dystocia prevented the baby from being delivered.

2:00 Delayed Delivery Due To Shoulder Dystocia

At the same time, if it’s too long, that baby can develop brain damage because the brain is just not getting enough blood when the baby is sitting there and not being delivered properly.

2:16 Brachial Plexus Palsy

What I was talking about before relates to the fact that that shoulder gets pulled on by the obstetrician or the obstetric nurse who is delivering the baby, and that shoulder could be damaged by that. The baby could get what’s known as a brachial plexus palsy, and that palsy can resolve after a few days, but it also might not resolve. When it doesn’t resolve, as I said before, these babies can have great difficulty moving their arm correctly or even moving their arm at all.

2:55 Obstetrical Malpractice

So how does this obstetrical malpractice case come up? Well, there are a couple of ways that this can happen. 

Number one as I said before, the obstetrician either panics or just doesn’t know how to deal with shoulder dystocia. Number two, somebody who’s there delivering the baby is not adequately trained, and the obstetrician hasn’t made it in for the delivery yet. In some hospitals that happens. The obstetricians aren’t there in time. When the baby is delivered, there is a problem. So shoulder dystocia occurs, somebody can’t handle it, and the baby either loses the function of one arm or the baby has brain damage that occurs that is picked up later in the evaluation of the baby.

So that’s a brief understanding of what shoulder dystocia is. If you have any further questions about this, please click below. We will respond as quickly as possible. We can answer any of your questions with regard to shoulder dystocia. 

At LawMD, we have many physician attorneys who can tell you what the issue is with your case, and we can prosecute your case as necessary. So click below, give us a call. Thank you.



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