There is no shortage of complicating factors that can lead to a more difficult childbirth, and potentially cause serious injury to both mother and child if not handled promptly and effectively by assisting physicians. One particularly common issue is shoulder dystocia, which involves an infant’s shoulder getting caught behind their mother’s pubic bone during delivery and may lead to them suffering damage to the nerves in their shoulders, as well as a number of other injuries.

If you or your child suffered harm during childbirth due to a medical professional failing to handle this type of issue appropriately, you should consider speaking with a local birth injury attorney about a civil claim. You may have grounds to demand significant financial restitution for the consequences of these injuries. Assistance from an Albany shoulder dystocia lawyer is important so that you are in a good legal position.

How Does Shoulder Dystocia Happen?

Shoulder dystocia happens in tens of thousands of deliveries every year around the United States, and it tends to be more common when babies have particularly high birth weights above nine pounds. There are numerous techniques physicians can use to attempt to facilitate a smooth birth once this happens, as well as various tools like forceps and vacuum extractors that obstetricians and their assistants should be trained to use safely and effectively.

Unfortunately, not every physician keeps their composure when faced with a situation like this during childbirth. This sometimes leads to them placing too much pressure on the infant’s head or neck, which in turn can lead to permanent damage that may manifest as life-altering and debilitating conditions like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy.

In the same vein, mistakes made during prenatal care can increase the risk of a shoulder dystocia that results in injury occurring during childbirth. An example of this might be failure to identify potential complications that affect an impending birth and preparing for them in advance. An Albany shoulder dystocia attorney could discuss what kinds of situations could allow for litigation against a doctor, nurse, or medical facility.

Holding a Negligent Physician Liable for Damages

Rather than traditional negligence, successful malpractice lawsuits in New York—including those based on shoulder dystocia cases in Albany—generally center around proving that a physician violated an applicable “standard of care.” This means that they failed to act the way that an equally qualified and experienced doctor would have in an identical scenario. With very few exceptions, plaintiffs intending to sue over this kind of misconduct must have support from another qualified medical expert, which they must establish through a “certificate of merit” included with their initial complaint.

A successful court verdict or settlement agreement could account for losses like:

  • Lost work wages
  • Past and future medical bills
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Lost quality/enjoyment of life
  • Lost consortium
  • Lost future earning capacity

However, there are filing deadlines for beginning cases such as this and other restrictions set by state law, so it is critical to retain a shoulder dystocia lawyer in Albany in order to file suit.

Consider Working with an Albany Shoulder Dystocia Attorney

Shoulder dystocia does not always lead to serious injury, nor does it always serve as valid cause for a malpractice claim even if an infant or pregnant person does end up hurt because of it. However, if this type of harm only happened because your doctor was careless or reckless, taking legal action against them may be crucial to protecting your entire family’s best interests.

A conversation with a knowledgeable Albany shoulder dystocia lawyer could give you answers to important questions and guidance about your next steps. Schedule a consultation by calling today.