In this educational article and supporting video, I will discuss shoulder dystocia and two possible injuries which can stem from the condition. In this discussion, from a medical legal point of view, I will help parents understand the condition, and the areas of investigation when a family contacts us regarding these issues.
What we have learned is that in general parents have little understanding of shoulder dystocia, until the situation occurs. Brachial plexus injuries, and brain related injures are both possible when shoulder dystocia is present.
WHAT IS SHOULDER DYSTOCIA?
Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby is trapped behind the mother’s pelvis. This medical condition can create an emergency in the delivery room. One of the reasons this becomes an emergency is because if doctors do not work to free the baby in a timely manner serious injury can occur.
One of the areas of analysis when investigating a shoulder dystocia condition for a family is to see what did the doctors do when the condition presented itself? What may not be known to the public is that doctors are taught certain maneuvers and techniques that they can use when shoulder dystocia is present. Issues can occur when doctors panic because of the shoulder dystocia situation. It is imperative that doctors accurately diagnose and treat shoulder dystocia. If a doctor does not feel comfortable with a shoulder dystocia condition, then he or she should look to get assistance if available.
SHOULDER DYSTOCIA AND TWO POSSIBLE INJURIES
The two types of injuries that we mostly see from shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injuries and brain injuries. Shoulder dystocia can present injuries to the brachial plexus area in the shoulder. The brachial plexus area of the shoulder also has nerves. If these nerves are injured, then the injury can manifest itself in multiple ways in a child. For example, the child may have an injury to the arm, or the hand. These injuries might affect the child’s ability to use their arm or to use their hand. For example, the injury might prevent a child from being able to open and close their hand properly. This example can be a direct result of injuries to certain nerves in the brachial plexus area of the body.
The second type of injury we can see from shoulder dystocia is an injury to a child’s brain. This can occur because of compression of the umbilical cord. When the umbilical cord is compressed, oxygen deprivation is always a concern. A reduced level of blood and oxygen can be catastrophic for a baby, especially if the reduction continues for a considerable amount of time.
HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, is a medical condition that can occur due to a reduced level of blood and oxygen for the baby. The electronic fetal heart monitor can help doctors and nurses assess a child’s well-being during a vaginal delivery. Again, it is imperative that doctors and nurses pay close attention to the electronic fetal heart monitor during a vaginal delivery. Failure to do so can result in some instances of the baby suffering a serious injury, namely a brain injury because of the oxygen related issues, I mentioned earlier.
WE CAN TALK WITH YOU ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS FOR YOUR BABY.
If you have more questions about your baby’s condition, and shoulder dystocia and two possible injuries from it, just pick up the phone and call us. We talk with families all the time about HIE, cerebral palsy, MAS (meconium aspiration syndrome), and more. We can answer your medical/legal questions, as this is what we do.
You can reach me at 301-850-4832.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP