Brachial Plexus Injury

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that begins in the spinal cord and controls vital movements of the hand, elbow, and shoulder. Two out of approximately 1,000 births involve complications that cause injury to the brachial plexus. Often it is a birth injury that  is the result of medical negligence caused by doctors or other professionals present during the delivery of the baby. Serious conditions such as Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy, or total brachial plexus palsy may result, subjecting victims to paralysis or other damage in the shoulders, arms, or hands.

What causes these birth injuries?

Damage to the nerves that make up the brachial plexus causes this type of birth injury. During birth, an infant’s shoulders may become trapped within the birth canal, often due to an obstruction such as the mother’s pubic bone (“shoulder dystocia”).  Babies who are larger than normal or are in a breech presentation, or mothers who have been laboring for many hours may heighten the risk for a brachial plexus injury. Medical staff are placed on high alert under these kinds of circumstances and must exercise proper protocol to avoid causing any harm to the baby. For example, medical staff must know just how much pressure or force they may apply in the effort to free the infant from the birth canal without causing irreversible damage to the brachial plexus and limbs.

Brachial plexus damage is normally organized in four categories.  Neuropraxia, which is a stretch injury that doesn’t tear the nerves, but rather shocks them. This is a condition that usually heals on its own. Neuroma is a stretch injury that damages only some nerve fibers.  Recovery from this type of injury is possible. Rupture is more serious as some of the nerves are actually torn during birth.  Finally, avulsion describes nerves torn from the spinal cord.

Babies who sustain any of these birth injuries may qualify for compensation after filing a birth injury lawsuit.

Why file a brachial plexus lawsuit?

Babies with brachial plexus injuries will face certain physical challenges throughout life. And as the child suffers through the pain and frustrations these conditions cause, families also suffer with the knowledge that the injury may have been avoided had the baby received proper care and attention at birth.

If your child sustained a brachial plexus injury that has left him or her with limited use of the arm, shoulder, or hand, contact the lawyers at Balkin & Eisbrouch for a complimentary legal consultation and to learn more about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. We have been holding negligent medical professionals responsible for the harms they inflict for over 40 years.  Perhaps we can help. The consultation is free and there are never any legal fees unless we win your case.