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Philadelphia Med Mal & Birth Injury Lawyer / Philadelphia Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer

Philadelphia Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer

If you or your baby was injured, or your newborn lost his or her life, due to a doctor’s failure to properly address and treat shoulder dystocia, you deserve to be heavily compensated for the damages that were caused to you and your family. Our Philadelphia shoulder dystocia lawyer at The Villari Firm, PLLC can help you determine the next steps you wish to take in this process.

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is an obstetric emergency in which one or both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck during delivery. Unlike many other birth complications, shoulder dystocia cannot be detected before delivery, and, as such, it cannot be prevented unless a C-section is performed for other reasons. Anatomically, shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s anterior shoulder becomes stuck on the mother’s pubic symphysis. While a prolonged, painful, and difficult labor may be short-term complications of shoulder dystocia, the true damage occurs to the baby, and often in the form of nerve damage.

How is Shoulder Dystocia Detected?

An obstetrician will only be aware of shoulder dystocia when the baby’s head is delivered. Advance imaging cannot detect shoulder dystocia. Once the baby’s head emerges, it will then pull back between the vagina and rectum in what is called the “turtle sign.” Shoulder dystocia is no one’s fault. It simply a condition caused by:

  • The baby being more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces
  • Your baby being positioned wrong
  • The mother’s pelvic opening being too small
  • And/or, the mother happens to deliver the baby in a position that limits the space in her pelvis

However, even though shoulder dystocia can happen to anyone and doctors cannot be made aware of in advance, that does not preclude them from negligence if shoulder dystocia results in an injury to the mother or child.

Failure to Properly Treat Shoulder Dystocia

HELPERR is a mnemonic tool that healthcare providers often use to treat shoulder dystocia. Without going into the specifics of the acronym, an obstetrician may use the HELPERR step by step procedure to: determine whether or not the mother needs an episiotomy, use the McRoberts maneuver to position you, apply suprapubic pressure, perform enter maneuvers or internal rotation, perform the Jacquemier’s maneuver, and roll the mother with the Gaskin maneuver. If these methods cannot deliver the baby and the delivery becomes an emergency situation, such as when the baby is in fetal distress, the doctor may break the baby’s collarbone to deliver it, use the Zavanelli maneuver to push the baby back inside and perform a C-section, or perform a symphysiotomy.

Contact a Philadelphia Shoulder Dystocia Lawyer Today

While shoulder dystocia is a complicated medical condition, doctors need to be trained and prepared for it. Applying too much pressure, performing an unnecessary maneuver, delaying treatment, or using appropriate techniques or tools to deliver the baby can result in nerve damage of the brachial plexus, brain damage due to hypoxia, unnecessary fractures, and even death. We strongly encourage you to seek legal action by reaching out to our Philadelphia shoulder dystocia lawyers at The Villari Firm. Call today at 215-372-8889 to schedule a free consultation.

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