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Phoenix Shoulder Dystocia Attorneys

Nationally Recognized Birth Injury Lawyers in Arizona

Giving birth has inherent risks, including the potential for various complications that require accurate diagnoses, appropriate treatment, and medical intervention in order to reduce risks of serious and preventable injuries. Unfortunately, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers don’t always uphold their duty to provide an acceptable standard of care when handling complications such as shoulder dystocia.

Trust Our Firm Staffed by Medical Professionals

When preventable birth injuries occur, families have the right to seek justice and compensation for their child’s immediate, ongoing, and possibly lifelong care. At Cullan & Cullan, our legal team is comprised of proven and experienced trial lawyers, four of whom are also doctors. Our insight, resources, and unwavering commitment have been utilized in thousands of forensic investigations involving birth injuries, and by numerous families who placed their trust in us during difficult times.

Our firm knows how to handle the most challenging birth injury cases. Discuss your potential case by calling (602) 900-9483 or contacting us online. Consultations are free and confidential.

What is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is a delivery complication that occurs when an infant’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. This obstruction can prevent the baby from easily passing through the pelvis posing risks of injury to both mother and child. Because the condition does pose serious risks, it is vital that healthcare professionals overseeing pregnancy, labor, and delivery adequately evaluate potential risk factors for a difficult birth and respond appropriately if the complication occurs.

Shoulder Dystocia & Preventable Birth Injuries

Investigations of birth injury cases involving shoulder dystocia focus on whether attending medical professionals – whether a doctor, nurse, or midwife – failed to meet their duty of care, and whether that failure more likely than not resulted in preventable injuries.

Common birth injuries resulting from shoulder dystocia include:

How Common Is Shoulder Dystocia?

The likelihood of shoulder dystocia varies by a baby’s weight, but that alone is not a significant enough risk factor to identify likely cases before birth. Maternal diabetes may also play a factor but, likewise, does not cause shoulder dystocia enough to serve as a data point in predictions.

Studies show that, by weight, the likelihood of shoulder dystocia is:

  • 0.6–1.4% of infants (6-14 per 1,000) weighing between 5lb, 8oz. and 8lb, 13oz.
  • 5-9% of infants (50-90 per 1,000) weighing between 8lb, 13oz. and 9lb 14oz.
  • The likelihood of shoulder dystocia continues to increase with the baby’s weight

What Are the Signs of Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia usually comes on with no warning, revealed by a pattern called “turtling” where the baby’s head will appear and then be pulled back. In some instances, the baby’s face and chin will not make it through the mother’s vulva. Delivery will stall, and intervention is necessary for both mother and baby’s health.

How Should Doctors Handle Shoulder Dystocia?

There are multiple methods doctors can use to progress labor in cases of shoulder dystocia, but their success rates may vary. Their responses may include:

  • The McRoberts’ maneuver
  • Applying suprapubic pressure
  • Internally rotating the baby
  • Repositioning the patient during delivery to be on all fours

If unsuccessful, a doctor may opt for more drastic measures that put the mother and baby at risk. They should never pull on the baby’s head or neck, because doing so is both ineffective and harmful to the baby.

Medical Negligence: Do You Have a Case?

Whether you have a potential birth injury case depends on the unique facts and circumstances involved. Generally, victims may have the right to pursue compensation when injuries resulted from a medical professional’s negligence or their deviation from accepted medical standards. Examples of substandard care and negligence in relation to shoulder dystocia injuries include:

  • Failure to address risk factors and increased potential for complications (i.e. large babies, maternal diabetes, shoulder dystocia in previous deliveries, etc.)
  • Failure to monitor signs of fetal heart rate, vitals, distress
  • Delayed C-sections or failures to perform C-sections
  • Improper manipulation of the baby, or the improper use of forceps and vacuums
  • Improper use of labor-inducing drugs, including Pitocin

Call (602) 900-9483 to Request a FREE Consultation

Doctors, nurses, and others who care for pregnant mothers and facilitate deliveries have a legal obligation to provide care that meets the accepted standard of their profession. When they fail to do so, and preventable birth injuries occur, victims and their loved ones may have the right to pursue accountability and financial compensation through the civil justice system. Working with experienced and proven attorneys can help families make the most of this right.

Our team at Cullan & Cullan has cultivated a reputation for helping families navigate what are often trying and emotionally turbulent experiences, and for our ability to guide clients toward the justice they deserve. If you have questions about our team, or wish to discuss a potential case involving shoulder dystocia or any other type of birth injury, contact us for a FREE consultation.

Record SettingVerdicts

View All Results
  • $26.1 Million

    Medical Malpractice

    Cullan & Cullan has set a state record in Nebraska with a $26.1 million medical malpractice jury award.

  • $25.4 Million

    Medical Malpractice

    Cullan & Cullan, Doctors Practicing Law, won a record-setting $25.4 million jury verdict for a family injured by medical negligence during labor and delivery.

  • $19 Million

    Truck Accident

    Negligent truck driver made a right-hand turn into plaintiff’s vehicle, causing fractured vertebra and partial paralysis. Defendant alleged plaintiff was trying to pass him on the shoulder. The insurance company offered zero before trial.



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Families We've Helped

  • "After suffering a spinal cord injury during a rollover accident, our client Tony Durham was left paralyzed for the rest of his life. Listen to his story on our website."
  • ""His team is phenomenal, and we are forever grateful for everything they have done for us.""
  • "We knew these would be lifelong issues for our son. You have to advocate for your kids because no one else will do it. Cullan & Cullan knew what was going on and we knew they would be successful in helping us."
  • "If your child is damaged or you think your child is damaged, you should seek a lawyer. Having a doctor-lawyer on my side really gave me hope."
  • "My child had permanent paralysis in her left arm and no one gave us a straight answer on how bad it actually was. We needed lawyers who understood the medical side of this case and hiring the Cullan brothers gave us the attention we needed."
  • "Joe and Pat came to meet me helped me fight my case. I was who they cared about and I felt so important with the Cullan brothers."
  • "For anybody who's been in an accident and suffered a catastrophic injury, Dr. Sam is the best person you could possibly call to help. Not only is he someone who is knowledgeable and very friendly, he's also a humble person - someone who will hold your hand and guide you through the process as he did with me."
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The Doctor Lawyer Difference

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  • Over $350 Million Recovered for Our Clients
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