Medical Malpractice Could Cause Brachial Plexus Injury

Elise Kramer | December 21st, 2012

Parents of children who have suffered a severe birth injury know how emotionally and financially taxing their care is–some infants need round the clock medical care, while others will be affected by their injury for a lifetime. Many parents might not realize that serious birth injuries, including brachial plexus injury, could come about as a result of medical malpractice or medical negligence. Statistics show that brachial plexus injury can affect up to four out of every 1,000 live births, a relatively large number. The complications related to the condition can affect a patient for a lifetime.

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Brachial plexus injuries

About 75 percent of birth-related brachial plexus injuries result in a condition known as Erb’s palsy, which is marked by paralysis of the arm. Klumpke’s palsy can also result; this is a condition in which the hand, shoulder, or arm can become paralyzed. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that sends signals from the spine to the arms, hands, and shoulders; injury to it is characterized in four different ways. Rupture is an excessive stretch injury that tears the nerves, avulsion means that the nerve has been torn from the spinal cord, neuropraxia is a stretch injury that disrupts the nerves, and neuroma is a stretch injury that damages nerve fibers. All of these conditions can have serious consequences for an infant.

The use of tools such as vacuums and forceps during the birthing process can increase the risk of brachial plexus injury, but any infant is at risk. Excessive pulling or tugging on the infant’s neck or limbs can do serious damage to their delicate nervous system, resulting in lifelong injury.

Legal options for parents

Because of the serious emotional and financial costs associated with injuries of this type, many parents choose to file a birth injury lawsuit if there was medical malpractice involved in their child’s injury. This can be helpful because settlements obtained in this way can pay for an infant’s care and can help to improve their quality of life. Parents interested in their legal options after their child suffered a birth injury should contact an experienced birth injury lawyer; the lawyers at Balkin and Eisbrouch are happy to answer any questions in a free consultation.