Brachial plexus injury is among the most common birth injuries, happening in 2 of every 1000 deliveries. In the shoulder of human body, there is a bundle of nerves known as brachial plexus. These nerves control the moving of arms, shoulders, hands, wrists, and fingers. If the brachial plexus is harmed during childbirth, the baby may suffer from devastating injuries. It often occurs when the shoulder of the baby gets stuck on the pubic bone of the mother during the delivery. The condition is also referred to as shoulder dystocia.
Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy are two common and serious types of brachial plexus injuries. They are named after the doctors who indicated them among infants. Erb's Palsy occurs by the damage of upper brachial plexus, causing temporary or permanent paralysis of the arm. Klumke's Palsy occurs by the damage of lower brachial plexus, causing temporary or permanent paralysis of wrist and hand.
DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers has extensive experience in handling all types of birth injuries including brachial plexus Palsy, Erb's Palsy and Klumke's Palsy.
Causes and Risk Factors
An efficient obstetrician or medical provider can identify the risks of brachial plexus injury and take measures to avoid it during the birthing process.
High risk factors for this injury include:
- High weight of the baby
- Diabetic mother
- Obese mother
- Petite mother
- Flat or thin pelvis
- Longer than 40 weeks pregnancy
- Prolonged second staged labor
Signs and Symptoms
Brachial Plexus Palsy can be recognized quite easily at first sight. Newborn babies usually flail their arms in various directions. If the child does not move its arms, hands, or fingers, it is a sign to pay attention. You should never lift babies with shoulder dystocia or signs of a brachial plexus injury from under the armpits, as this will aggravate the injury. Common symptoms of Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy include:
- No control on muscle movement in the hand or arm
- No feeling in the hand and fingers
- Little control over the arm movement.
- Facial paralysis
- Inability to sit upright with assistance
- No crawling without the help of therapeutic devices.
If the baby does not move its one hand or arm like the other, it requires immediate medical attention. If shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injuries are found early, it can get treated as well as corrected. Mild brachial plexus Palsy cases often recover spontaneously. Serious cases receive a treatment of physiotherapy and exercise. 80% of the cases recover without any surgery. If a surgery is needed, it should be done early on. Five to twelve month old babies often recover after a surgical intervention. After this age, surgery might not prove effective.
Contact a Lawyer in Case of Medical Malpractice
If a child suffers from brachial plexus injury because of medical malpractice, the parents should seek the help of an experienced birth injury lawyer. Our law office has extensive experience handling all types of birth injuries. If you have a question regarding a possible case, call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us online. Consultations are always free and you will never be responsible for legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for you.