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Shoulder Dystocia

Lawyers for Birth Injury Lawsuits in Syracuse

Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that occurs when a baby’s shoulder or shoulders get stuck inside the laboring mother’s pelvis. If shoulder dystocia results in birth injuries to the baby or injuries to a laboring mother, it may be possible to bring a medical malpractice action for compensation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, an experienced Syracuse birth injury attorney may be able to help you recover damages for injuries to a baby or mother arising out of medical negligence.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia can happen for many different reasons. There are certain risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia such as macrosomia, gestational diabetes, being pregnant with twins or triplets, having shoulder dystocia in a prior pregnancy, or being overweight during pregnancy.

Often, even where there’s shoulder dystocia, babies are born safely. However, in some cases, injuries are inflicted on either the baby or the mother, or both. It can be difficult for health care providers to stop or predict shoulder dystocia. In some cases, shoulder dystocia is discovered only after labor starts. Where shoulder dystocia is detected prior to labor, a C-section may need to be scheduled, but if shoulder dystocia is found after labor starts, an emergency C-section needs to occur.

When shoulder dystocia occurs during delivery, it necessitates a rapid response. A baby can die as a result of an umbilical cord getting compressed. The OB-GYN and staff are supposed to identify that shoulder dystocia is present and respond with appropriate measures. There are several different techniques your OB-GYN should know how to employ for purposes of adequately responding to shoulder dystocia. Improper response to shoulder dystocia can result in serious injuries to the baby, such as cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or developmental delays.

Each of these conditions is different and has different repercussions, sometimes affecting the rest of the baby’s life. Cerebral palsy, for example, is a neurological disability that limits the brain’s capacity to control body movements and muscle movements. It can arise in connection with the mismanagement of shoulder dystocia triggering lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

You will need to consult an expert even before filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice. Under Rule 3012-a, you’ll need to file a certificate with your complaint. The certificate needs to state that you reviewed your case and talked with at least one health care expert licensed to practice, and you reasonably believe the expert is knowledgeable about the medical issues relevant to your claim and that, based on the review and consultation, you concluded there was a reasonable basis for the lawsuit. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer can assist you with this process.


If you can establish liability in connection with injuries produced by a health care provider’s improper responses to shoulder dystocia, you can potentially recover compensatory damages on behalf of yourself and your baby. Compensatory damages are intended to put you in the position you would have been in had there been no shoulder dystocia.

Economic losses that may be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit include medical bills, prescription drug costs, out-of-pocket costs, nursing costs, wage loss, and the costs of rehabilitation and therapy for the baby. The particular injuries inflicted by shoulder dystocia will dictate the appropriate items of loss to be recovered. Economic costs associated with cerebral palsy, for example, include the costs of physical therapy, orthotic devices, medication, assistive devices or technologies, and even surgery. The costs of occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and speech and language therapy for a child born with cerebral palsy due to shoulder dystocia may also be included in recoverable economic damages. Noneconomic damages that may be recovered include amounts for loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and other intangible losses.

Consult an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney in Syracuse

If your baby was injured or you were harmed as a result of medical malpractice in connection with shoulder dystocia in Syracuse, you may be able to recover damages in a lawsuit. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our trial lawyers represent patients and their families harmed by medical negligence in Syracuse, Rochester, and across Upstate New York, including in Oswego, Canandaigua, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Auburn, Ithaca, Lyons, Herkimer, Elmira, Wampsville, Utica, Oneida, Lowville, and Watertown. Call our firm at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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