Did Your Child Suffer A Brachial Plexus Injury?

If you have learned that your child was born with a brachial plexus injury, you are probably looking for answers. Was the injury avoidable? How will the injury affect your child in the future? Unfortunately, answers are not always forthcoming.

At Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City, we have a dedicated legal team to help you get the answers you need. If your child's injury was caused by a preventable error, you may be entitled to compensation to help your child meet the challenges ahead. Call 800-539-0652 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm.

Causes Of Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that originate in the back of the neck and extend through the shoulder to the arm. These nerves can be damaged if an infant's shoulders get wedged within the birth canal, a condition known as shoulder dystocia.

Doctors often discover the dystocia only after delivery of the fetal head. At that point, special care needs to take place to enable delivery of the baby's shoulders. Too much force with forceps or other assisted delivery can cause damage to the nerves of the brachial plexus. Most often, the upper nerves are injured, a condition called Erb's palsy. Total brachial plexus birth palsy occurs when both the upper and lower nerves are damaged.

Shoulder dystocia can be avoided by use of cesarean section delivery. The major risk factors for shoulder dystocia include:

  • High birth weight
  • Positioning of the baby in the womb
  • Maternal obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Maternal age if the birth is a first delivery
  • Previous birth of a child with shoulder dystocia

Doctors should recognize these risk factors when delivering babies and be prepared to take whatever steps necessary to ensure a safe birth.

About two babies per 1,000 live deliveries are afflicted by brachial plexus birth injuries. Infants who are affected by loss of muscle control, paralysis or lack of limb coordination are destined to experience numerous challenges later on in life. When an afflicted infant does not show any improvements at age four to six months, surgery may be a viable option for helping to restore or increase motor function. Physical and/or occupational therapy promote increased strength and motor control in the arms, wrists and hands, and are also both effective options in helping to treat Erb's palsy and brachial plexus injuries. Treatments used to maximize the functionality of the arm, wrist and hand may be necessary because they often prove successful, but such treatments are usually quite expensive even for those with good health insurance.

If your child suffers from Erb's palsy or a brachial plexus injury at the time of their birth due to negligent action on the part of a physician or attending medical professional, our lawyers can seek compensation to help pay for medical bills, occupational and physical therapies, and other expenses associated with the birth injury.

For More Information About Brachial Plexus Injuries

Our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to answer your questions about brachial plexus injuries and your rights under the civil justice system.