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What complications can arise from shoulder dystocia?

The birth of a child is usually a joyful event for the entire family. Not only parents, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings all eagerly await the birth of a new baby. Sadly, there are times when, due to medical negligence, a child suffers a birth injury. One common type of birth injury is shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia occurs during the childbirth process, when the infant's head is delivered, but the infant's shoulders cannot be. This results in the infant becoming stuck in the birth canal. This could result in the need for an emergency cesarean section.

There are complications that could follow shoulder dystocia. The infant could suffer injuries to the nerves of their hand, arms and shoulders. In severe cases, shoulder dystocia could cause the infant's brain to suffer from lack of oxygen. This could result in severe brain damage. In the worst of circumstances, shoulder dystocia can lead to the death of the infant.

While shoulder dystocia cannot always be predicted, it is important that when such situations arise, all appropriate medical care is taken. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. When shoulder dystocia is not appropriately responded to by medical staff, leading to serious complications, it can cause injuries that last well after the child is born.

Parents whose children have suffered birth injuries deserve to seek compensation to help offset the costs associated with such injuries. Compensation sought could cover not only past medical expenses, but future medical expenses as well. This could be significant, as certain types of injuries could require a lifetime of medical care.

Source: March of Dimes, "Shoulder Dystocia," Accessed Oct. 20, 2014

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