Let Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorneys Explain How A Brachial Plexus Injury to Your Baby’s Shoulder Can Be Caused by Medical Malpractice
The brachial plexus is an important grouping of nerves that controls multiple functions of the arm and shoulder. These nerves can sometimes be damaged as a result of medical malpractice during delivery of a baby. If your child’s arm or shoulder were injured during delivery, here are some important things you should know.
What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that extends from the spine to the neck and into the arms. Strains, tears, and other damage to these nerves during childbirth can injure the brachial plexus. This can happen when:
- The baby is breach, or feet first, during delivery;
- The baby is too large, relative to the size of the birth canal;
- The baby’s shoulders get stuck in the mother’s pelvic area, causing shoulder dystocia;
- The umbilical cord is compressed or trapped;
- Improper use of medical instruments;
- Excessive pulling during delivery.
This type of injury can occur when there are prolonged or intense forces affecting the baby’s shoulder and arm during delivery. Because of this risk, the standard of care requires doctors to consider the size and positioning of a baby before attempting the delivery. In fact, when it appears that there may be issues that places a baby at an increased risk for a brachial plexus injury, doctors are required to consider performing a C-section.
If an infant has sustained a brachial plexus injury, there are many signs. The first is that the baby may exhibit reflex problems or limited mobility on the injured side of the body, including the development of a “claw-like” hand. The baby may also have abnormal muscle contractions or even a full or partial paralysis in the affected area. X-rays and a physical examination can usually diagnose the condition.
An injury to the brachial plexus can sometimes heal naturally. In other cases, however, surgery or physical therapy may be necessary. Another option is a nerve transfer, a procedure where a nerve is surgically moved from a less used muscle to the affected area.
What is Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s Palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury, also caused by prolonged or intense force on the baby’s shoulder and arm during delivery. Basically, it affects the lower two brachial plexus nerves and results in paralysis of the forearm and hand. Symptoms include limited mobility of the forearm, hand, and wrist flexors. Your child’s hand may also have a “claw-like” appearance as a result of this condition. Therapy and surgery may be necessary.
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If you have any questions about an injury to your child’s brachial plexus during childbirth, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation, by email or simply calling (800) 762-9300. You can also fill out a case intake form, and one of our attorneys will get right back to you.
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