Brachial Plexus Injuries Caused by Mismanagment of Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a specific form of “obstructed labor” in which one or both shoulders of the infant cannot fully pass through the birth canal. If not addressed correctly by the delivering healthcare providers, the newborn can sustain serious permanent nerve injuries to the nerves of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus consists of nerves exiting the cervical spine (in the neck) and controls the fucntion and sensation of our upper extremities.

Healthcare providers must proceed appropriately within the standard of care to address shoulder dystocia, buy aplying various accepted maneuvers to free the stuck shoulder(s) without injuring the nerves of the brachial plexus.

Permanent injuries caused by the mismanagement of shoulder dystocia include brachial plexus palsies (Erbs-Duchenne Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy and possibly phrenic nerve injuries).  These injuries often result in a loss of function of the shoulder, arm, wrist and/or hand, as well as cosmetic/physical deformities. In the case of phrenic nerve injuries, the child’s respiratory function may be affected.

If errors were made during a delivery in which there were difficulties delivering the baby’s shoulders, and those errors or deviations from the standard of care caused harm to the mother or the newborn, families may be able to seek financial compensation for the affected child’s injuries. These damages may also include that of a psychological nature, potential lost earnings, and the costs associated with the required medical, surgical and other care needed to treat the resulting conditions and deformities.

Medical malpractice claims of this nature may provide the support a family needs to recover financially and emotionally in light of the difficult and challenging issues surrounding a child injured at birth.

The experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Blume Forte are Certified Civil Trial Attorneys with extensive experience in handling matters involving birth injuries. We are available to discuss your potential claim at no cost. Please call 973-845-4421.

Related Articles: