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  6.  » Shoulder Dystocia / Trauma During Delivery

Infant Disabilities From Trauma During Childbirth

Shoulder Dystocia And Other Delivery-Related Injury

Excessive force or improper technique during childbirth can cause severe trauma to the infant. The delivering physician has a duty to anticipate difficult births and to respond appropriately to complications during labor and delivery. An error in judgment or failure to exercise due caution may constitute medical malpractice if the baby is born with disabilities as a result of the doctor’s negligence.

The attorneys of Ginsberg & O'Connor, P.C., have extensive experience with birth injury litigation across New Jersey. We have held obstetricians (OB-GYNs) and hospitals accountable for negligent management of the birthing process that led to serious or permanent disabilities, including:

  • Nerve damage to the baby’s hands or arms
  • Fractures of the infant’s legs or arms
  • Injury to the skull or neck from use of forceps or suction
  • Brain damage from oxygen deprivation

Erb’s Palsy: A Preventable Birth Injury

Shoulder dystocia is a complication of delivery in which the infant’s shoulders become wedged in the birth canal. Sometimes the umbilical cord also becomes pinched, cutting off oxygen to the baby. The obstetrician should be trained in various methods to free the baby in a timely manner without causing damage, but also be prepared to perform a cesarean delivery (C-section) if the infant is in distress.

Unfortunately, physicians sometimes panic or use force or suction inappropriately in addressing shoulder dystocia. This can result in physical trauma to the child. The most common injury is damage to the brachial plexus nerves in the baby’s shoulder, manifested as Erb’s palsy (paralysis of the arm) or Klumpke’s palsy (paralysis or deformity of the hand).

Depending on the severity of nerve damage, the child may fully recover function over time, or regain some or all function with physical therapy or surgery. In many cases, children born with Erb’s palsy suffer permanent paralysis, weakness or loss of sensation in that limb.

Our lawyers work to show that the delivery trauma that caused your baby’s injury could and should have been avoided if the OB-GYN and nurses had foreseen the complications or followed proper procedures. We pursue compensation for the costs of medical intervention and lifelong care needs, as well as monetary damages for permanent disability or disfigurement, and the emotional distress your child will suffer in the future.

Explore Your Legal Rights And Remedies

If you suspect medical malpractice, arrange a free consultation by calling our Mount Laurel law office at 856-437-0969, or fill out our online contact form, and a member of our legal team will reach out to you soon.