The case arose when a young child suffered an injury to her brachial plexus during her birth. As a result of the injury, the child suffered Erb’s palsy, a nerve condition in the shoulder and arm that results in weakness or loss of muscle function.
During the child’s delivery, one of her shoulders became stuck behind her mother’s pelvic bone. This is known as a shoulder dystocia. In order to relieve a shoulder dystocia and deliver the baby, there are a number of maneuvers that obstetricians are trained to use, including the McRoberts maneuver, Wood’s corkscrew, Rubin’s maneuver and the posterior arm delivery maneuver. It is imperative that an obstetrician not exert excessive downward force on the child’s head to relieve a shoulder dystocia, as excessive downward force may result in Erb’s palsy.