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Shoulder Dystocia and Medical Malpractice

Shoulder Dystocia and Medical Malpractice cardaro & peek

Shoulder dystocia is a damaging birth injury that happens when a baby’s shoulders become stuck while passing through the birth canal.

Shoulder dystocia is a damaging birth injury that happens when a baby’s shoulders become stuck while passing through the birth canal during labor. It can affect one or both shoulders. Shoulder dystocia can cause severe and permanent harm to the infant and the mother. This includes nerve damage, brain damage, and injuries to muscles, tissues, and/or tendons. In the worst cases, it can result in the death of the child. If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

During a normal vaginal birth, the baby’s neck and head will first breach the mother’s pelvis, and the rest of the body follows. Shoulder dystocia disrupts this process. In cases of shoulder dystocia, one or both of the baby’s shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. This can happen because the baby is too big, the birth canal is too small, or the way the baby is situated in the birth canal. 


Shoulder dystocia is a serious medical emergency because it can cause the baby to suffer from brachial plexus palsy (weakness or paralysis of an arm) and/or oxygen deprivation, which can lead to brain damage or death. The infant may also sustain a broken collarbone and other injuries. It can also result in injuries to the mother, including severe bleeding, infection, tears, and nerve damage.

Factors that Lead to Shoulder Dystocia

Some of the factors that contribute to the risk of shoulder dystocia include:

  • Diabetes in the mother (which can increase a baby’s size and make it more difficult to fit through the birth canal)
  • Multi-child pregnancies
  • Labor and delivery past the due date
  • The mother suffered shoulder dystocia in the past with another child
  • VBAC or vaginal birth after a c-section (which could result in scar tissue)
  • Induced labor (typically by oxytocin)
  • Receiving an epidural
  • Mother over 35 
  • Use of forceps, vacuum, or other tools to move the baby through the birth canal
  • The healthcare provider uses inappropriate pressure/maneuvers to deliver the baby

Shoulder Dystocia May Be a Result of Medical Malpractice

If your child suffered shoulder dystocia, you may want to ask a medical malpractice lawyer for a consultation. Shoulder dystocia can and should be avoided properly with pre-natal and pre-labor monitoring.  Even after labor has started, proper monitoring and evaluation can also be used to help eliminate or prevent shoulder dystocia. 

If your child was injured due to medical malpractice, you might be entitled to compensation for their injuries, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. 

Contact The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC Today

Do you believe that you or your loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice or medical neglect? You need to talk to an experienced team of local lawyers today.

The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek, LLC have the experience and resources necessary to investigate and litigate all types of medical claims throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Cardaro & Peek, LLC has medical personnel on staff and has access to nationally recognized, board-certified physicians and other experts, to assist in the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of all types of medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have experienced malpractice, give us a call at 410-752-6166. Please visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more information.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 16th, 2022 at . Both comments and pings are currently closed.