The brachial plexus is the bundle of nerves to the arm and hand that pass through the shoulder. Stretching of these nerves during the delivery process may cause loss of sensation, limited mobility, and may even lead to permanent disability in some cases.
While a brachial plexus injury may be a natural result of a difficult delivery, other cases are related to negligence on the part of the doctor delivering the child. In these cases, the negligent doctor may be liable if the injury has significant and/or long-lasting effects on the child. Talk to a brachial plexus injury lawyer in New York by calling Buttafuoco & Associates at 1-800-NOW-HURT for help.
How does a brachial plexus injury occur?
The shoulders are the widest point of an infant’s body to pass through the birth canal. In some deliveries, the shoulders may become stuck during birth (shoulder dystocia) and may require a doctor to assist in freeing them. Brachial plexus injuries are most common with unusually large infants and breech births.
Injury to the brachial plexus can occur in any birth, including cesarean section. It is not always a medical error that contributes to this injury. However, using unnecessary and excessive force to free the shoulders, or otherwise acting negligently, can contribute to these injuries.
If you suspect that the doctor was negligent in delivering the child, contributing to brachial plexus palsy and other injuries, review your case with an attorney. Buttafuoco & Associates cab review medical records and consult medical experts to evaluate your case and prove liability.
Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries
Erb’s palsy is the most common type of brachial plexus injury. This condition can lead to limited mobility in the shoulder, with the affected arm rotated inward toward the infant’s torso. The child may be able to grasp with the affected hand, but may have difficulty raising his or her arm.
Mild cases of Erb’s palsy may resolve with daily physical therapy, but if the condition persists for more than six months, surgical treatment may be necessary. In such cases, some residual weakness may remain, and the affected arm may grow at a slower rate than the other.
Klumpke’s palsy is a rare brachial plexus injury that may cause weakness of the affected hand. The infant may be unable to grasp objects. Recovery is similar to Erb’s palsy.
Identifying Negligence and Seeking Compensation
Doctors cannot prevent some brachial plexus injuries, but medical errors cause many of these injuries. Before delivery, your doctor should assess the size and positioning of the fetus to determine if there is a need for a cesarean delivery. After birth, your doctor should examine the infant for signs of injury and take immediate action if necessary. Delay in diagnosis and treatment can extend recovery time or cause permanent damage.
In some cases, the injury can cause stunted growth of one arm and make physical activities difficult. If the brachial plexus nerves suffered severe damage, permanent weakness or paralysis might persist later in life.
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, you must have evidence of the negligence that led to your child’s injury. This evidence often comes from expert medical witnesses who can testify about whether the doctor acted within the standard of care.
Buttafuoco & Associates knows that a birth injury significantly impacts your child’s future. We help our clients pursue the full compensation they deserve. Talk to us about your case and damages you may pursue, including medical costs, physical therapy, and more. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT.