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Can a doctor’s poor judgment during delivery cause a shoulder dystocia injury in newborn?

A recently filed medical malpractice lawsuit alleges that an obstetrician’s negligence during the delivery of a baby is to blame for an injury to a child’s shoulder– known as shoulder dystocia or Erb’s Palsy.

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the minor child, alleges the doctor should have known that the baby was at an increased risk for sustaining a shoulder injury due to the fact that:

  • The baby was considered to be larger than average weight
  • The mother was obese
  • A spinal epidural was used as anesthesia in the mother
  • The mother was diabetic

In lieu of the vaginal delivery, the lawsuit suggests that cesarean section (c-section) would have been a more appropriate given the circumstances. Further, the lawsuit alleges that the doctor acted negligently when she misapplied force to the baby’s head as she attempted to evacuate the child from the birth canal.  Instead the obstetricians was supposed to using more gentle rotational maneuvers to free the child’s shoulder.

As result of the injury to the child’s shoulder, the lawsuit seeks damages for: pain and suffering, medical expenses and future earning capacity.

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