Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuits in Hawaii
Millions Recovered for Birth Injury Victims
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.
Shoulder dystocia occurs in approximately one percent of all vaginal births. It may result from complications involving gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, epidural anesthesia, and large fetus size, which are known risk factors.
If your child was harmed by a medical provider’s negligent management of shoulder dystocia, Bostwick & Peterson, LLP may be able to help. Our track record includes over $1 billion for clients and numerous record results in birth injury and medical malpractice cases.
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 the baby is still inside the birth canal. If the child survives delivery, they may suffer injuries or complications such as:
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Fractures, including clavicle fracture
- Hypoxia / Brain Damage
The mother can also suffer injuries from 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 accepted protocol in the event dystocia occurs. If they do not follow necessary procedures, the child could be killed or both mother and child could suffer injury. When a doctor fails to uphold their duty of case, their negligence could constitute malpractice and entitle victims to financial compensation.
There are two main acronyms used to detail procedures doctors should take for shoulder dystocia: ALARMER and HELPERR. Both state essentially the same thing:
- Call for help. When dystocia is identify, providers must call for help. Medical staff should be standing by to perform the necessary protocol to assist in the delivery.
- Evaluate for episiotomy. Providers should evaluate the need for an episiotomy, which involves making an incision on the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall and perform is necessary.
- Leg maneuver. Most obstetricians use the McRoberts maneuver, which involves positioning the mother's thighs up to her abdomen.
- Suprapubic pressure. Medical assistants should place pressure on the fetal anterior 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. Providers should assist the mother in changing positions to all fours, which can help dislodge the baby’s shoulder as the mother is turning.
If you have questions about a potential birth injury lawsuit involving shoulder dystocia, our Hawaii attorneys offer free consultations. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.
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