ERBS Palsy and Shoulder Dystocias

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Written by Paul Rheingold

A major medical article (titled “A comparison of obstetric maneuvers for the acute management of shoulder dystocia”) recently described good practices that obstetricians should follow to avoid damaging the nerves in the arms of babies being delivered, a condition known as Erb’s Palsy.. The article deals with how to manage the common problem of a shoulder of the fetus hung up in the mother’s pelvis. By not using proper methods, pulling by the doctor on the baby causes permanent damage to the nerves in the arm.

A major study was released by doctors in the Cons Safe in Delaware comparing the various obstetrical maneuvers for dealing with the problem of the shoulder hang up, known as shoulder dystocia. They studied a major data base of over 200,000 deliveries where there was dystocia as to what worked to spare nerve damage and what didn’t. They also studied brain damage which occurred when delivery is delayed due to shoulder hangup-known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. One of the major findings of the study was that the posterior shoulder should be delivered first, along with use of the McRoberts maneuver.

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