Continuing Prevalence of Negligence in Obstetrics

by David Zevan on Mar. 18, 2015

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Wrongful Death 

Summary: A Missouri mother has filed a lawsuit against the obstetrician who delivered her daughter in February of 2013.

A Missouri mother has filed a lawsuit against the obstetrician who delivered her daughter in February of 2013.

The otherwise healthy infant was injured by the physician as she was passing through the birth canal.  The plaintiff was a regular patient of the obstetrician named in the birth injury lawsuit and was receiving the standard prenatal care. Around mid-term she was told that her glucose levels were too high and that the size of her belly was disproportionate to the gestational age of the fetus. In total, the victim gained over 53 pounds during her pregnancy, yet was never counseled about her nutritional needs.

With these types of pregnancy symptoms, an obstetrician will generally monitor the size of the baby using ultrasound before allowing a natural childbirth. In this case, no ultrasound was ever offered, and the option of a C-section to prevent injury to the baby was never discussed.

Injury Resulting From Shoulder Dystocia

The plaintiff is seeking monetary damages from the doctor for her daughter’s injury, which is a condition known as shoulder dystocia. This is a condition where the shoulder of an infant becomes stuck inside of the pelvis prior to birth. If improper measures are taken to dislodge it, the shoulder may be severely injured. Babies born with this type of injury are prone to other birth injuries including Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, and oxygen deprivation. Oxygen deprivation during birth can cause brain damage and even death in an unborn child. Complications such as cerebral palsy are common in situations where a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth.

There are techniques that obstetricians are trained to use to reduce the risk of shoulder injury such as internal rotation and the McRoberts maneuver, none of which was attempted in this situation. The largest number of cases involving shoulder dystocia take place when the mother suffers from gestational diabetes and the baby is too large to pass safely through the birth canal.

Risk Factors For Shoulder Dystocia

Other contributing risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia include a pregnancy that has gone past term, a history of birth injury, maternal obesity, and a high amount of weight gained during the pregnancy. We can only hope that the young baby affected by this case will recover fully from the injury and be able to enjoy the healthy life she was about to embark on. Some cases do heal on their own over time, while others are more severe and require long-term therapies to correct.

The parent in this case is doing the right thing by ensuring that her daughter’s medical needs will continue to be met. If your baby was injured during birth, it is your responsibility to see to it that the doctor responsible is held liable for the mistake and that your baby is able to receive any and all medical care that they need. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200 for a case evaluation.

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