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Generally speaking, Brachial plexus palsy cases fall into three groups: pre-natal, labor and/or delivery.
When reviewing a case, Erb’s Palsy Lawyers look to see if there were warning signs in the pre-natal period that should have alerted the ob/gyn that there was a greater risk of shoulder dystocia. These risk factors include: history of gestational diabetes, obesity, prior shoulder dystocia, birth weight over 8 lbs. 14 oz., maternal weight gain of 35 pounds or more, history of traumatic birth, flat, contracted or exceptionally small pelvis (platypelloid pelvis), short or small stature of the mother, and advanced age of mother. In these cases, the risks should have been explained to the mother and a cesarean section offered.
Often, there is no indication of the risk factors during the pre-natal period, yet during the labor process there are indications of impending shoulder dystocia. For example, labor is usually separated into three stages. The first stage is early labor, the second stage begins when the mother starts to push and the third stage is at the actual time of delivery. Depending on some other factors such as how many prior deliveries the mother has had, the second stage of labor should last no more than 2 hours. Slowed labor can be a sign of impending shoulder dystocia, The labor is slowed because the baby is too big to descend properly. The most problems occur with the use of a vacuum or forceps to extract the child. The FDA has reported increased incidence if injury to the baby when a vacuum is used in the face of shoulder dystocia. If the baby’s fetal heart monitor is OK, the ob/gyn should leave the baby alone. If it descends, that is fine. If not, a cesarean section can be performed. Using a vacuum or forceps to force a baby with shoulder dystocia down is not correct, and can cause serious injury to the baby.
In these casess, the first sign of shoulder dystocia is encountered at the time of delivery. Here, an episiotomy should be performed, followed by maneuvers to deal with shoulder dystocia. These Maneucers include; the McRoberts maneuver, Woods maneuver and suprapubic pressure. If these maneuvers are not done, or if excessive traction is applied to the baby’s head during the delivery a malpractice case may be warranted.
If you believe your child may be suffering due to a physician’s negligence that led to a birth injury such as Erbs Palsy and would like the attorneys and physicians at The Law Offices of Robert A. D’Iorio &amp; Associates PLLC to evaluate your case free of charge, please call us today at 888.465.4658 or contact us online.