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Shoulder injury at birth gets $3 million verdict

When a baby is injured at birth in Washington, the family often has a long road ahead of them. The child may need considerable services in their lifetime in order to deal with the injury, which may last a lifetime. 

According to USA Today, a jury recently awarded $3 million in damages after a baby lost the use of his arm at birth. The boy, who is now 9 years old, became injured when his shoulder was lodged against his mother's pelvic bone and the doctor pulled too forcefully on the baby's head during delivery. This caused nerve damage and permanently damaged the baby's right shoulder. The doctor did not inform the boy's mother that this was a possibility before the procedure. While many birth injuries are awarded large damages because the child lives with the impairment his or her entire life, this is one of the biggest awards in recent memory. The doctor is unlikely to lose his license to practice medicine.

Injuries to the shoulder that occur during birth can be due to the baby being larger than average. The mother in this lawsuit was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which can lead to higher birthweights, and her son was 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth. As MedicalXpress.com reports, a clinical trial in the UK will study whether inducing women who seem to be carrying larger-then-average babies at 38 weeks reduces complications at birth. Researchers will follow the pregnancies of 4,000 women whose babies are measuring large across 60 maternity hospitals around England. Women who participate will either be assigned to the control group, who are left to go into spontaneous labor, or to the group of women who will be induced at 38 weeks. Their labors will be studied to see which group results in fewer complications in delivery, specifically with the shoulders during birth.

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