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Broken Clavicle: A Common Birth Injury

A trip to the hospital to deliver a child is supposed to be one of the few times that a couple travels to the hospital in a happy mood. They are looking forward to welcoming a new member into their family and only want for their new child to be healthy. Unfortunately, the childbirth process doesn't always go as planned and sometimes there are complications along the way.

While some complications are unavoidable, other complications can lead to birth injuries that could have been avoided. One of the most common birth injuries that occurs during the labor and delivery process is a clavicle fracture. 

The Labor and Delivery Process

As the mom enters labor, the cervix dilates and the baby begins to pass through the dilated cervix. The baby will then have to pass through the pelvic canal to enter the world. Most babies don't have any complications as they're born; however, some babies are too large to fit through the pelvic canal. In other cases, the baby could wind up with a shoulder dystocia. This means that the shoulder is stuck against the pelvis and no matter how hard mom pushes, the baby won't move. This is where the physician has to take action to assist with the birthing process.

The Baby Needs Assistance

There are a couple of options available to the physician. First, the physician could try to press on mom's uterus to dislodge the arm or try a maneuver called the Wood's Corkscrew maneuver. The physician will also likely elevate mom's legs to try and straighten the vaginal canal. Other times, the physician may try to deliver the posterior arm first. The physician may even employ forceps or a vacuum. As the physician tries all of these maneuvers, the baby is placed under a significant amount of stress. Too much force could break the fragile clavicle.

The Broken Clavicle

Everyone knows that baby bone aren't as strong as adult bones and the clavicle could fracture. This is typically diagnosed via ultrasound after birth. While the vast majority of broken clavicles heal in a few weeks without issue, the bone fragments could travel elsewhere. They could damage veins and arteries leading to serious bleeding. They could also sever nerves, leading to permanent disability. It is important to assess whether or not a broken clavicle has any of these serious complications before moving forward.

A clavicle fracture is only one of many birth injuries that could develop as a result of medical negligence or malpractice. While almost every baby will heal from a clavicle fracture, this doesn't mean that other structures won't be damaged in the process. This can lead to expensive medical bills that could place families in a significant amount of financial distress. Any family that has struggled with birth injuries should contact an experienced attorney for more information.

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