Shoulder dystocia is a condition that occurs during the birth of a child. The child’s shoulder becomes “stuck” in the mother’s pelvis. There are serious consequences to such dystocia if it is not managed properly. The major, and most significant consequence is, obstetric brachial plexus palsy.
Obstetrical brachial plexus palsy is an injury of the brachial plexus at childbirth usually affecting nerve roots in the cervical spine known as C5-6 and, at other times, C8-T1 nerve roots.
Injuries to nerve roots C5-6 are known as Erb-Duchenne Palsy which comprises approximately 80% of the cases. Injuries to the C8-T1 nerve roots are known as Klumpke Palsy. These are serious medical conditions which are usually the result of mismanagement of the shoulder dystocia condition by the delivering physician.
Risk factors for brachial plexus injuries caused by shoulder dystocia include excessive lateral traction and forceful deviation of the fetal head from what is known as the axial plane of the fetal body. Unfortunately, babies who experience significant brachial plexus injuries may have a “limp” arm for the remainder of their life.
Often times Defendants in these cases, attempt to blame “maternal forces.” This is claimed to be a biomechanical process wherein the Defendants attempt to defend these cases by blaming the mother’s vaginal expulsive forces. In other words, the Defendants attempt to assert that the mother’s muscles caused the brachial plexus as opposed to excessive force by the obstetrician/gynecologist. This theory has been debunked in both the Courts and in medical literature. The Patberg Law Firm believes that is merely a facade in an attempt to protect the obstetricians and their insurance companies from liability.
Babies should be protected. Babies should be safe. While The Patberg Law Firm certainly understands the complicated process of childbirth, there are ways that babies can be safe and protected. If you, a friend or a family member have experienced an adverse event as a result of child birth, please contact Rolf Louis Patberg, Esquire at 412-232-3500 or E-Mail Rpatberg@patbergelawfirm.com.