In a recent conversation this blogger had about birth injuries with top New York Erb’s Palsy lawyer Edward P. Milstein, Milstein said injuries at birth to the brachial plexus, a network of nerve fibers that control movement of the shoulder, arm, wrist, hand and fingers, most often occur in situations where the fetus is large (greater than 20 pounds), or the pregnancy is complicated by gestational diabetes and maternal obesity.
As a consequence of these and other risk factors, shoulder dystocia can develop, obstructing the newborn’s passage through the birth canal. In these situations, the head is delivered and the anterior shoulder cannot pass through the pelvic outlet. The infant is actually stuck.
When shoulder dystocia is diagnosed, certain maneuvers can be instituted so that the unborn fetus is delivered unharmed.
The main concern of shoulder dystocia is the risk of damage to the nerves, which comprise the brachial plexus. These nerves are at risk to be damaged by stretching or tearing the nerves by the obstetrician in an effort to deliver the baby by employing excessive lateral traction upon the baby’s head.
If the nerves are damaged, permanent injury to function of the upper extremity can occur.
“These types of cases are fairly common,” Edward Milstein, partner in the top New York medical malpractice law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C., said. “In my career, I have handled almost 100 cases involving injury to the brachial plexus as a consequence of the development of shoulder dystocia.
“The key to a successful delivery in this situation,” he added, “is for the doctors and nurses not to panic, and employ the maneuvers which are designed to alleviate the dystocia and safely deliver the baby.”
If you are a parent with concerns about the health of your infant after birth, or if your child begins to show signs of motion and/or developmental disorders, you should contact the New York Erb’s Palsy law firm of Dankner Milstein, P.C. and ask to speak with one of our lawyers. The consultation is free