Claim for the Failure to Treat Shoulder Dystocia at Birth

If we were to give this article its full title, it should be something along the lines of “how to claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth in a timely or appropriate manner which results in your child suffering an avoidable injury”, as it is unlikely that – in modern times – there has ever been an instance in which shoulder dystocia at birth has never been treated.

As most mothers are probably aware, shoulder dystocia is a medical emergency in which the infant´s shoulder becomes trapped behind the pubic bone during the delivery process. It is a fairly rare condition and often managed by readjusting the birth position or manipulation of the infant in the birth canal. In more serious scenarios it may be necessary to perform an episiotomy or deliver the baby by C-Section.

However, when shoulder dystocia is not attended to in a timely or appropriate manner, there is a risk that the child will suffer a serious injury. Issues such as oxygen deprivation can lead to childbirth brain injuries, while the use of excessive force to release the infant´s shoulder can result in brachial plexus injuries and Erb´s Palsy. When these injuries occur, and they could have been avoided with greater care, it may be possible to claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth.

How to Claim Compensation for an Injury due to Shoulder Dystocia

In order to claim compensation for an injury due to shoulder dystocia, it has to be shown that your child´s injury was avoidable “at the time and in the circumstances” and attributable to a poor professional performance by a medical professional. To establish causation and liability, your solicitor will request your authorisation to access your child´s medical records.

The records relating to your child´s birth will be reviewed by a medical expert, who will determine the strength of your claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth. Subject to there being a claim for compensation for an injury due to shoulder dystocia which is worth your while to pursue, your solicitor will send a “Letter of Claim” to the hospital, asking them to respond to your allegations within ninety days.

If the hospital accepts liability for your child´s injury, your solicitor will enter into settlement negotiations. If liability is contested, it may be necessary to issue court proceedings. Most claims for compensation for an injury due to shoulder dystocia are resolved without a court hearing; although it is be necessary for settlements of claims made on behalf of children to be approved by a judge to ensure they are in the child´s best interests.

Get Legal Advice about Making a Claim for the Failure to Treat Shoulder Dystocia at Birth

Proving negligence in a claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth is not straightforward. For this reason we have established a Medical Negligence Advice Bureau which you are invited to call to discuss the circumstances of your child´s birth with a medical negligence solicitor.

The solicitor will not be able to advise you immediately whether your child is entitled to compensation for an injury due to shoulder dystocia, but will be able to answer any questions you may have about making a claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth.

Our service is provided free of charge, and without any obligation on you to proceed with a claim for compensation for an injury due to shoulder dystocia. You can call our Medical Negligence Advice Bureau at any time for discrete legal advice that will help you better understand the process of making a claim for the failure to treat shoulder dystocia at birth.