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Doctor sued for trauma to a child's shoulder during birth


Obstetricians have a special responsibility to their patients. Not only are they charged with the care and safety of the expecting mother, but that of her baby as well. A doctor error in the delivery room can leave new parents in Worcester suddenly faced with a long-term injury to their child.

Early last year, one Midwestern woman was going to her prenatal appointments and finding that she had elevated glucose levels. Her abdomen was also growing larger than usual, as recorded by providers at each of her visits; during the last trimester her total weight gain exceeded 50 pounds. In spite of these indicators, she received no instruction as to proper diet and the baby's weight was never checked via ultrasound.

Eventually, while she was giving birth, the infant's shoulder got stuck. In order to dislodge it from behind the mother's pubic bone, the doctor pushed down forcefully on the baby's head and neck. The birth proceeded, but the doctor's actions resulted in trauma to the child's shoulder.

Sometimes an obstetrician fails to recognize important red flags in the weeks and months leading up to delivery. A timely C-section can often protect a mother and a newborn baby from the risks of injury associated with higher weight, but the doctor needs to be alert to the signs of these risks and discuss them with the mother. Failure to do so that results in a birth injury (or even death) may be considered a form of medical malpractice.

The mother in the case above has recently filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for her medical and other expenses. Parents in Worcester should also be aware that an obstetrician's negligence in situations like this may be legally actionable.

Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, "Woman claims child suffered shoulder injury during birth," Oct. 8, 2014

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