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What is shoulder dystocia?

There are a variety of different problems that could arise during birth, and unfortunately, some of these incidents are related to medical mistakes. One of the most serious emergencies experienced by doctors in Arizona is known as shoulder dystocia. This occurs after the baby's head has emerged from the birth canal during delivery. It is when the infant's shoulder becomes stuck and unable to pass through.

One of the most dangerous aspects of shoulder dystocia is oxygen deprivation. This may not seem to be a concern, as it's simply a shoulder that won't emerge, but by this point, the infant is already in the compressed birth canal. If the baby becomes stuck there, there will be pressure on the umbilical cord. In the end, this can prevent oxygen from getting to the infant's brain.

There are certain risk factors, such as gestational diabetes, that increase the likelihood of shoulder dystocia occurring. When this is the case, doctors should take proactive measures to reduce the probability that such an emergency will occur. If shoulder dystocia does occur, there are medical maneuvers doctors should be prepared to perform to safely get the baby out without any further damage.

Shoulder dystocia is a serious medical emergency, but doctors are trained to reduce the likelihood of these situations occurring and prevent serious damage if they do occur. When a doctor doesn't react appropriately to such an emergency or ignores warning signs, their negligence could lead to serious birth injuries and even death. For parents of children who have suffered due to this type of medical malpractice, finding legal assistance might make it possible to recover compensation to help with related bills. No information in this article should be interpreted as specific legal advice.

Source: American Family Physician, "Shoulder Dystocia", Elizabeth G. Baxley M.D. and Robert w. Gobbo M.D., November 11, 2014

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