Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
Giving birth should be one of the most thrilling times for a family.
Unfortunately, that excitement can be dampened by unexpected complications, some of which are the result of medical malpractice. One of the most common complications is an injury to the brachial plexus. This collection of nerves around the neck travels down the arm and controls movement and sensation in the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. When these nerves are damaged during birth, it can result in a palsy disorder.
If your child suffers from Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy, it may be the result of medical negligence. Given the complexity of these cases, it is important to contact an attorney if you believe your baby’s injury could have been prevented. For more than 50 years, the Middle Georgia brachial plexus birth injury lawyers of the Mann Law Firm have helped the families of injured infants throughout the state.
The primary cause of brachial plexus injuries is excessive pressure to a baby’s neck or head during a difficult delivery, often done when a baby’s shoulders get lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Pulling on the baby’s shoulders during a head-first delivery, pressure on the baby’s raised arms during a feet-first delivery, and pulling the head and neck toward the side at the same time that the shoulders pass through the birth canal can all result in nerve damage. Brachial plexus palsy usually affects only the upper arm, while Erb’s palsy is paralysis of both the upper and lower arm. Klumpke’s palsy affects the muscles of the hand and also the pupil of the eye on the same side of the body as the paralysis.
It is the responsibility of the doctor or obstetrician delivering a baby to recognize when a baby’s shoulder has gotten stuck under a mother’s pelvic bone and to go through a series of maneuvers that are designed to safely release the impacted shoulder. Unfortunately, such a situation causes many medical professionals to panic and improperly exert pressure on the baby’s head in an attempt to get the rest of the baby out. It is this pressure or pulling that stretches or tears the brachial plexus. The paralysis may resolve on its own, require rehabilitative therapy or require corrective surgery. Each case is different, and some infants are left with varying degrees of arm weakness.
Brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy can be identified by a number of serious symptoms, including:
- Loss of sensation in the arms, hands or shoulders
- A misaligned shoulder blade
- Paralysis of the shoulders, arms or hands
- Reduced fine motor coordination
- Reduced muscle control in the arms, hands or shoulders
- Reduced strength in the arm or hands
- Stunted growth of the arms or hands.
There are several risk factors that indicate a baby may be prone to a more difficult delivery. Thus, many cases of brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy can be prevented if the proper precautions are taken prior to delivery. Doctors who follow accepted standards of medical care understand common risk factors that require close monitoring, such as:
- A large pre-birth weight
- Breech delivery
- Maternal diabetes
- Maternal history of delivering large babies
- Maternal obesity
- Prolonged pregnancy (more than 42 weeks).
Parents of children with brachial plexus palsy may be entitled to monetary compensation to help pay for their child’s long-term medical needs. It is important to seek the qualified legal advice of an experienced birth injury attorney who believes that doctors and hospitals guilty of malpractice should be held accountable for their irresponsible actions. An attorney who is skilled in dealing with cases of a similar nature knows the most effective path to recovering the damages you deserve and protecting the interests of your family.
If your child has Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy and you suspect it could have been avoided, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible after the birth. Even if you are unsure, the brachial plexus birth injury lawyers of the Mann Law Firm can review your case and advise you whether you have grounds to seek financial compensation. We have years of experience handling Georgia birth injury law, and we fight to protect the rights of patients and their families. We would like to meet with you to discuss your case. Get started today by calling (478) 742-3381 or by filling out this online form. We represent clients throughout the state of Georgia, including the communities of Macon, Dublin, Warner Robins, and Milledgeville. Let us help you.