Traction blamed for brachial plexus injury

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In 1994, an Illinois woman received care at a department of public health clinic and was delivered by an obstetrician who had not seen her before delivery.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the child alleging application of excessive traction to the head and neck during delivery and failure to use additional appropriate maneuvers when shoulder dystocia was encountered.

The obstetrician claimed that the maneuvers performed were appropriate and that the injury occurred when the shoulder became stuck as the head was being delivered. The defense contended that the baby had been delivered easily in less than a minute after the use of proper traction, McRoberts' maneuver, and episiotomy and that no excessive traction or other maneuvers were needed. A verdict for the defense was returned.

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