DC Shoulder Dystocia Attorney

Shoulder Dystocia

Washington D.C. Shoulder Dystocia Attorneys

Shoulder dystocia is a medical emergency during delivery, but it isn’t always managed promptly and safely to avoid traumatic injury to your baby. When negligence occurs in those crucial moments, shoulder dystocia can leave a child with long-term medical problems and permanent physical impairments.

At Bertram & Murphy, we are committed to helping families whose babies have suffered severe harm as a result of negligence during labor and delivery in the Washington, D.C. area.

To learn about whether your child has the right to seek compensation for these types of injuries, contact us by phone or online. Our shoulder dystocia attorney in Washington, D.C. is highly experienced in these types of cases, and our team is ready to meet with you for a free consultation to discuss your child’s rights and legal options.

What Our Lawyers Offer Families Dealing with Shoulder Dystocia

When filing a shoulder dystocia lawsuit, you don’t just need an attorney who will fight on your behalf. You also need a caring legal team that understands the unique challenges you and your family face and will help you get answers along the way.

From the moment you contact our office, you’ll understand why many families in the Washington, D.C. area choose Bertram & Murphy. During your free consultation, we’ll take the time to listen to your concerns and address the questions you have. If you decide to proceed with your child’s claim, you’ll be updated by our team every step of the way. We are here to answer your questions so you can focus on your child and your family.

Whether your case settles out of court or proceeds to trial, we’re ready to help you and your family seek full and fair compensation.

What Is Shoulder Dystocia and How Does It Happen?

During childbirth, the baby’s shoulder can become stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone, making it impossible to deliver the baby’s body. This is called “shoulder dystocia.”

This is something doctors, nurses and midwives are taught to handle in their training. When shoulder dystocia occurs, the doctor or midwife should perform certain specific maneuvers in a specific sequence in order to free the shoulder and allow the baby to travel down the birth canal safely. In some instances of shoulder dystocia, the baby is delivered with no long-term harm. But, unfortunately, the baby sometimes suffers brain damage and can suffer permanent disfigurement and lose the ability to use their arm or hand due to negligence on the part of the doctor or midwife or another negligent healthcare provider.

Complications Caused by Shoulder Dystocia During Birth

These are some of the most common complications caused by shoulder dystocia:

  • Oxygen Deprivation (Hypoxia) – When it comes to shoulder dystocia complications, the baby’s oxygen supply can be limited or cut off, causing brain damage. Oxygen deprivation can occur if the baby’s umbilical cord is trapped between the baby’s body and the mother’s pelvis during delivery. Hypoxia can also occur if the baby’s neck is compressed or the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal and the doctor isn’t able to deliver the baby in a timely manner. These complications can cause permanent brain damage.
  • Brachial Plexus Injury – The baby’s brachial plexus nerves are essential nerves for the proper use of the arm and hand. If the doctor damages this nerve group due to improper force or pulling during delivery, it can cause serious conditions, such as Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. Symptoms include nerve pain, paralysis of the arm, and sometimes result in a claw-like appearance of the hand.
  • Broken Bones and Fractures – If a doctor uses too much force when trying to dislodge a baby during a difficult delivery, this might result in broken bones and fractures to the child’s skull, shoulder or arm. These injuries can heal without long-term complications, but in some cases, they can cause severe and permanent injuries.
  • Facial Injury – Facial injury might occur if the doctor applies too much force when using forceps, a vacuum, or other instruments. This can cause temporary injuries, long-term paralysis or brain bleeds/brain damage if the force is so severe that it damages nerves or crushes the baby’s skull.

Expenses Families Face When Coping with a Child’s Shoulder Dystocia

Complications related to shoulder dystocia might require long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and other special services that add up over time.

These are some of the most common expenses related to shoulder dystocia:

  • Repeat visits to specialists to monitor the child’s condition
  • Corrective surgeries
  • Rehabilitation, physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • Home healthcare and nursing services
  • Assistive medical equipment

When determining how much compensation you child may be entitled to, the law firm will consider factors, including:

  • Your baby’s pain and suffering, mental distress, disfigurement and other negative psychological effects
  • Future surgeries and medical equipment your child may require
  • Lost wages if you had to take time off work to care for your child’s condition
  • Loss of future earning potential if your child’s condition is so severe that he or she may be limited in the type of work he or she can do in the future

If you’d like to learn more about your child’s potential compensation options and how a D.C. shoulder dystocia lawyer can help, contact us now to schedule a free consultation.

The doctor or midwife also needs to look out for risk factors that may be present before delivery that would require the provider to offer the mom a C-section to avoid the risk for shoulder dystocia. Some of these red flags include:

  • The mother’s pelvis is too small or abnormally shaped
  • The mother is obese or has gestational diabetes
  • The mother is pregnant with twins or multiple babies
  • The mother has had a prior baby with shoulder dystocia
  • The mother is past her due date
  • If the sonograms show a very large baby before delivery (fetal macrosomia)

Who Could Be Legally Responsible for Your Child’s Shoulder Dystocia?

An OB-GYN, midwife and other labor and delivery medical professionals should have the necessary training and skills to anticipate if a mother is at higher risk of shoulder dystocia and also be fully trained and prepared in how to manage shoulder dystocia safely and appropriately when it does happen to avoid injury to the baby. When mishandled due to negligence or delay, serious complications can occur.

Your D.C. shoulder dystocia lawyer will consider the following when determining who is liable:

  • Did negligence cause the shoulder dystocia? If so, how and to what extent?
  • If certain risk factors were present before birth should the doctor have scheduled delivery by C-section?
  • Was anyone besides the doctor negligent, such as a nurse, resident doctor or midwife?
  • If there were complications related to shoulder dystocia, were they caused by faulty instruments or inadequate training or lack of staffing by the hospital?

In light of the above, there may be multiple liable parties, including:

  • The doctor or midwife who delivered the baby
  • The doctor or midwife who managed the pregnancy and failed to anticipate shoulder dystocia when risk factors were present
  • Nurses, resident doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • The hospital where the baby was delivered if there was not enough staff or training
  • Manufacturers of faulty birth-assistive instruments

Let Us Review Your Potential Shoulder Dystocia Claim Now

To learn how a shoulder dystocia attorney in Washington, D.C., can help you, schedule a free consultation with our team now.

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