Shoulder Dystocia Verdict in Missouri

Missouri Lawyers Weekly reports on a recent medical malpractice defense verdict after an 8 day trial in Buchanan County, Missouri in favor of an obstetrician and nurse involving a difficult deliver almost 12 years ago.

Shoulder dystocia can result from a difficult childbirth where the baby’s head is able to clear but the shoulders – typically one shoulder – will not come out. Not surprisingly, this problem develops with larger babies.

The doctor in this case argued that he used fundal pressure and forceps to clear the shoulder. Defendants further claimed there was no shoulder dystocia and any complications the baby had must have occurred in utero (I’m assuming the last part).

Interestingly, the Plaintiffs videotaped the delivery which I imagine gave the jury a far better idea as to how the delivery went then you would see in most cases.

Shoulder dystocia cases typically are not, thankfully, medical malpractice cases because the injuries tend to resolve. When they do not, the child may suffer permanent brachial plexus injury or mental impairment. Whether shoulder dystocia is caused by medical malpractice of the delivering doctor depends on the facts of the specific case.