Shoulder Dystocia Claims
Shoulder dystocia is a complication feared by obstetricians because it is often unpredictable, requires immediate appropriate intervention and can result in injury to the newborn infant. It can lead to a wide range of injuries and it is therefore imperative that when this occurs, the correct compensation is sought.
If your doctor or midwife failed to recognise the risk factors and to take appropriate action during labour, then you may be able to make a shoulder dystocia claim. Our expert solicitors can offer you expert advice. Call us on 0800 014 7481 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.
What is Shoulder Dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia occurs occasionally during labour and birth when the baby's shoulder gets trapped behind the mother's pelvic bone. This can result in a range of injuries, including broken arm or clavicle and strain of the nerves travelling through the neck resulting in arm or shoulder paralysis. Injuries range from mild to serious and from temporary to permanent.
Recognising the risk factors
Accepted medical protocol exists to relieve the problem and may include:
- Repositioning the mother
- Manoeuvring and changing the position of the baby
- Breaking the baby's clavicle bone on purpose
- Breaking the mother's pelvic bone
- Performing an emergency caesarean section
- Cutting a deep episiotomy
- Performing the McRobert's manoeuvre
- Applying traction in a horizontal plane to avoid damaging the brachial plexus
- Applying pressure over the mother's pubic area
Risk factors for shoulder dystocia include:
- Suspected large baby
- Maternal diabetes or gestational diabetes
- Maternal obesity
- An overdue baby - gestation over 40 weeks
- Short maternal stature
- Contracted or flat pelvis
- Maternal weight gain of more than 35 lbs
- Protracted first stage of labour
- Prolonged second stage
- A history of similar problems during a previous delivery
- A history of giving birth to large babies
- 8 years or more have passed since the mother's last labour
Proving Medical Negligence
To prove medical negligence it is necessary to establish three things:
- Duty of Care:
The relationship that exists between a doctor and a patient is usually sufficient to establish the duty of care
- Causation of Injury:
It is necessary to show that the negligence of the doctor caused or materially contributed to the shoulder dystocia injuries
- Breach of Duty of Care:
To establish that a breach of the duty has occurred, it must be shown that whatever the doctor did or did not do fell below the standard of a reasonably competent medical practitioner. If the doctor can show that a responsible body of reputable medical practitioners would have carried out the same procedure, even though there were alternative procedures, he will be able to successfully defend a claim provided that the procedure in question stands up to logical analysis
Talk to Us
We are able to take many claims on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and it is important that you contact us as soon as possible so we can assess your case.
Our solicitors will deal with your claim personally and will not to delegate your file to any inexperienced person within their department. If you would like free advice and information from a specialist solicitor, then simply complete our contact form and one of our medical negligence experts will telephone you with no obligation. We have highly experienced solicitors including members of the Law Society’s panel of medical negligence experts, so you can be assured that your case will be handled professionally and sensitively. Alternately, you can phone us on 0800 014 7481.