If your baby’s medical condition was the result of a healthcare professional’s error, a misdiagnosis, or other negligence, an experienced birth injury attorney could help you proceed with a medical misdiagnosis claim against the liable entities. A Florida shoulder dystocia lawyer can help you determine whether your child’s injuries were preventable.
An attorney at Domnick Cunningham & Yaffa could handle all the necessary legal proceedings so you can focus on the health and wellbeing of your family. Call today to schedule a case consultation.
An Overview of the Birth Injury Condition
Shoulder dystocia occurs during birth when one or both of the baby’s shoulders become obstructed on the pubic bone after the head has passed through the birth canal. This obstruction may place intense strain on the brachial nerve complex, which is a bundle of nerves extending through the shoulders and neck to the arms.
If the issue is not addressed immediately, shoulder dystocia could place unsafe and undue pressure on the umbilical cord. Potential complications that could arise as a result of shoulder dystocia are:
- Erb’s Palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Fetal hypoxia
- Klumpke paralysis
- Vaginal lacerations
- Maternal post-partum hemorrhage
- Fetal death
Common Causes of Shoulder Dystocia
It is essential to be aware that there are known risk factors for shoulder dystocia. If any of these risk factors arise, it could indicate the need for a cesarean section birth. Indicators that shoulder dystocia could be imminent include:
- The mother is 35 or older
- The mother has diabetes
- A gestation period of 42 weeks or longer
- The mother is short in stature or has an abnormally sized or small pelvis
- Maternal obesity
- Fetal macrosomia, which is an abnormally high birth size or weight
- A prolonged first or second labor stage
- The need for oxytocic to induce rapid labor
- Head bobbing in the second stage of labor, or the head retreating into the birth canal after erupting
- No shoulder descent or rotation during labor
Shoulder dystocia poses a significant risk to the health and wellbeing of both mother and child. However, with proper monitoring and safe delivery techniques, it can be preventable. If risk factors are present and known by the attending medical staff, and natural birth is still advised, it could be grounds for a medical malpractice claim if the mother or child sustain.
Establishing a Claim for Medical Misdiagnosis
Florida law requires physicians to meet a standard of care when treating patients, which is a level deemed acceptable by a reasonably prudent doctor under similar circumstances. If treatment fails to uphold that standard of care, the physician or laboratories may be liable for any resulting harm to a patient.
To pursue a shoulder dystocia claim on behalf of the injured party, a Florida attorney would need to prove the legal elements of negligence — duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to their patients. An attorney would need to demonstrate that this duty of care was not followed and provide evidence that the medical professional’s negligence was the direct cause of the claimant’s injuries. Finally, the plaintiff must have sustained actual damages as a result of the provider’s negligence to pursue compensation.
Florida Laws Governing Shoulder Dystocia Lawsuits
Florida Statutes §95-11 requires injured victims to start a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit within two years of the date they discovered or should have discovered their injury. The statutory deadline may not apply to a minor if the case is started on or before the date that they turn eight years old.
Failure to file suit by the statutory deadline could cause the plaintiff’s case to be thrown out of court. As per Fl. Stat. Ann. §766.106, state law also requires a plaintiff to serve a notice of intent to file suit on the medical provider before suing in court, including an affidavit from a medical professional affirming the validity of the malpractice claim.
This notice sets a complex settlement process in motion that has a 90-day duration, during which the statutory deadline is tolled. If the medical provider indicates before the 90 days that they do not wish to settle, the plaintiff will have 60 days or the time remaining to sue, whichever is longer. With varying exceptions that may apply to the statutory deadline for shoulder dystocia injury lawsuits, it is important to consult with a qualified Florida attorney as soon as possible so that they can help a claimant adhere to all deadlines.
Recovering Damages in Birth Injury Cases
Shoulder dystocia may result in birth injuries of varying severity and scope. A plaintiff can seek economic damage compensation for past and future medical treatment, physical rehabilitation, speech therapy, lost income, and loss of earning capacity. Financial damages can also be awarded for pain and suffering, emotional loss, and mental anguish.
Get Help from a Florida Shoulder Dystocia Attorney Today
If your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of a medical misdiagnosis, a Florida shoulder dystocia lawyer can help your family recover compensation to commensurate with the losses you have sustained. An attorney can work on your behalf to hold negligent parties responsible for their actions.
Speak to a member of our team today.