New Jersey Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyers
Attorneys in NJ for Brachial Plexus Palsy Birth Injury
A birth injury affecting the brachial plexus can have long-lasting effects for your child. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves extending from the neck through the shoulder, arm, and hand. It responsible for controlling movement in this region of the body. Brachial plexus injuries are a common type of birth injury that may result in permanent weakness or loss of control in the shoulder, arm, hand, wrist and/or fingers. These injuries occur in approximately one to three out of every 1,000 births. Continue reading for more information about the purpose of the brachial plexus nerves, how they may become injured at birth, the potential consequences of brachial plexus trauma, and how medical negligence can cause these injuries in newborns.
What is the Brachial Plexus?
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originates in the neck area and connects with the nerves in the arm. These nerves are integral for sensation and movement from the shoulder to the fingers and may become damaged during labor or delivery.
How is the Brachial Plexus Injured during Birth?
There are a variety of ways the brachial plexus may be injured during birth. These nerves can be compressed, over-stretched, torn, or disconnected from the spinal cord. When any type of brachial plexus of injury occurs, the nerves suffer trauma and may be permanently damaged. The most severe cases occur when the brachial plexus is severed or ripped away from the spinal cord.
What Causes Brachial Plexus Injuries?
Brachial plexus trauma can occur for a variety of reasons. In some cases, a doctor’s error is responsible for damaging the brachial plexus. Most brachial plexus injuries occur during difficult deliveries, often referred to as labor dystocia. If a doctor fails to adequately manage a difficult delivery, this may lead to nerve damage in the brachial plexus. For example, pulling the baby too hard out of the birth canal can lead to over-stretching. Also, if the baby’s shoulders do not fit with the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis (known as cephalopelvic disproportion), attempting to deliver the baby vaginally can pull the head and neck away from the shoulders as they pass through the birth canal. Another potential cause of brachial plexus injury is pressure on the baby’s arms if they are raised during a feet-first delivery (also known as breech).
Risk Factors for Brachial Plexus Injury
There are certain factors that increase the risk that a brachial plexus injury will occur. For instance, babies that are larger than average for their date of birth. This can be caused by a number of maternal conditions, including gestational diabetes. Babies delivered in the breech position are also prone to brachial plexus injuries. Lastly, brachial plexus injuries are common in births with shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. If any of these circumstances exist, it is critical for doctors to immediately identify risk factors and adjust the delivery plan accordingly. Often, brachial plexus injury can be averted by performing a Cesarean section. There are also specific maneuvers that a doctor must execute with precision to correct issues like shoulder dystocia. Failure to perform a C-section or errors during delivery resulting in brachial plexus injuries may provide grounds for a birth injury lawsuit.
What Happens if the Brachial Plexus is Injured?
Damage to the brachial plexus nerves can interrupt the necessary signals these nerves send in order to control movement. As a result, a brachial plexus injury can cause weakness, loss of motion, and even paralysis in the shoulder, arm, hand, wrist, or fingers. There are different types of brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy. In most cases of Erb’s Palsy, the upper arm is primarily affected. This is a more common form of brachial plexus injury. Klumpke’s Palsy or paralysis is more rare and impacts the lower arm and hand.
Our New Jersey Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawyers Can Help
If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury during birth, you may feel alone and unsure of how to proceed. Medical malpractice and negligence on the part of doctors, nurses, and hospitals happens far too often with devastating results for children and families. We understand what you are going through and can help pursue the compensation your child needs to live their best life. Contact us today at (866)-708-8617 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with an experienced brachial plexus injury attorney. With offices in Newark, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York, we serve clients throughout the tristate area and consult on birth injury cases nationwide.
Brachial plexus injury in newborns, MedlinePlus
Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy, Boston Children’s Hospital