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Shoulder Dystocia Cases in Hawaii

Was your child injured during delivery?

Shoulder dystocia occurs when the fetal shoulders fail to deliver shortly after the head passes through the mother's pubic bone. This occurrence is a fetal emergency and, while in and of itself does not constitute malpractice, failure to properly handle a case of shoulder dystocia can severely injure or even kill an infant. This phenomenon occurs in approximately one percent of all vaginal births. Sometimes, it can point back to probable causes such as diabetes and maternal obesity which are known risk factors for shoulder dystocia. Other times, the cause is unknown.

If your child was harmed by a medical practitioner's negligent management of shoulder dystocia, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a Hawaii birth injury lawyer at our firm. We are prepared to review your case for free and discuss how we can help.

Long Term Effects of Dystocia

In the worst-case scenarios, shoulder dystocia can lead to the death of the child due to the compression of the umbilical cord while it is still inside the birth canal. If the child survives the delivery, it may still suffer from a variety of long term complications, such as:

  • Brachial Plexus Palsy
  • Clavicle Fracture
  • Humerus Fracture
  • Hypoxia/Brain Damage

The mother can also suffer the devastating effects of shoulder dystocia during delivery such as uterine rupture, hemorrhaging, severe tearing and rectovaginal fistula.

Proper Procedure for Managing Shoulder Dystocia

Doctors are required to follow tested protocol in the event that dystocia occurs. If they do not follow the necessary procedures, then the child could be killed or both the mother and child could suffer serious injury. When a doctor fails to act as they should, this could constitute malpractice and a birth injury claim could be filed.

There are two main acronyms used to detail the procedures doctors should take in these instances, ALARMER and HELPERR. Both acronyms state essentially the same things:

  • Call for Help
    The second that the obstetrician notices that there is a problem, they must call for help. Medical staff should be standing by ready to perform the necessary protocol to assist in the delivery.
  • Evaluate for Episiotomy
    If necessary, the obstetrician should perform an episiotomy. This medical procedure involves making an incision on the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall. Since this type of incision could potentially result in painful side effects for the mother, the doctor should carefully evaluate whether or not it is necessary.
  • Leg Maneuver
    Most obstetricians use the McRoberts maneuver. This involves positioning the mother's thighs up to her abdomen.
  • SuprapubicPressure
    Medical assistants should place pressure on the fetal anterior (suprapubicly) shoulder in a downward motion. This should facilitate movement so that the infant can continue to pass through the pubic bone.
  • Enter Maneuvers
    By using tested rotation methods, doctors can attempt to rotate and maneuver the infant into a better position.
  • Remove the Posterior Arm
    Doctors should avoid simply grabbing and pulling at the infant's arm, as this could cause fracturing. The doctor should take care to flex the elbow.
  • Roll the Patient
    Finally, the obstetrician should assist the mother in changing positions to be on all fours. In many cases, the stuck shoulder will dislodge as the mother is turning and getting into this position.

Contacting a Hawaii Birth Injury Lawyer

If you or your child was injured or even in the tragic event that your child passed during delivery, please get in touch with Bostwick & Peterson LLP as soon as possible. Our firm has extensive experience with birth injury cases, and can act as your advocate against the negligent doctor or medical facility. Call today and receive a free evaluation of your case.

500 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 400
Honolulu, HI 96813
(888) 547-7677

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