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Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries May be Caused by Malpractice

Posted July 19, 2015 | Birth Injury

The brachial plexus is a network of fibers extending from the spine and throughout the neck, arms, and armpits. Brachial plexus palsy is weakness or paralysis of the arm caused when the nerves that control and supply the muscles of the shoulder and upper extremities are damaged. Brachial plexus injuries are often caused by forceful pulling on an infant during delivery.

There are several types of brachial plexus injuries that can result during childbirth:

  • Duchenne’s Paralysis
  • Erb’s palsy (Erb-Duchenne Palsy, Erb’s Paralysis, Erb-Duchenne Paralysis, Duchenne-Erb Paralysis, Duchenne-Erb Syndrome)
  • Klumpke’s palsy
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Upper Brachial Plexus Palsy
  • Upper Brachial Plexus Paralysis

Brachial plexus injuries commonly happen during stressful and difficult labor and delivery. These types of injuries can result in decreased hand strength of the affected side, a claw-like hand appearance and paralysis (both full and partial) often leading to a limp hanging arm.

Was my Baby’s Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Simply be because a medical procedure does not caused the desired result does not necessarily mean that there was medical malpractice. Instead, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide medical that meets the level of care, skill, and treatment that other practitioners would provide in similar circumstances.

If you suspect that your baby’s injury was caused by medical malpractice, you should consult with a brachial plexus birth injury attorney who can examine your hospital records and let you know if you have a valid case.

Brachial plexus injuries are commonly caused when a baby becomes lodged in mother’s pelvic area and a doctor places too much pressure on the baby’s head and neck to speed up the delivery. If a doctor uses excessive force extract the baby, the network of nerves that compose the brachial plexus can be injured. Some factors that may contribute to a brachial plexus birth injury include:

  • Failure to Prevent Shoulder Lodging: Brachial plexus palsy occurs when a baby’s shoulder becomes lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone. This can happen in both vaginal and Cesarean births. There are a number of techniques which can be used by obstetricians to avoid shoulder lodging.
  • Improper Use of Vacuums: During vacuum extraction, a soft or rigid cup with a handle and a vacuum pump is applied to the baby’s head to help guide the baby out of the birth canal. Vacuums are not appropriate for all childbirths and can cause damage to the infant’s skull or nerve damage in the neck and shoulders if used improperly.
  • Excessive Pressure on the Infant’s Head: Shoulder dystocia is the ripping, tearing a nerve damage that occurs when a baby’s shoulder is forced against the mother’s pubic bone because of excessive pressure on the head.
  • Breech Births: A breach birth occurs if a baby is delivered feet-first, rather than head-first. Breach births account for only about 3 percent of all deliveries. Doctors can determine if the child is poised for a breech birth by the eighth month of gestation. When a breech birth occurs, it can cause extreme pressure and stress on the child’s neck, head, and shoulders and therefore, doctors should create a proper deliver plan.
  • Improper Use of Forceps: In some difficult deliveries, forceps are applied to the baby’s head help guide the baby through the birth canal. If the tool is used improperly, it can contribute to the development of brachial plexus palsy.

Some other factors which may contribute to a brachial plexus birth injury include:

  • Failure to timely order a Cesarean section delivery
  • A physician’s failure to determine the large size of a baby in the womb;
  • Failure to monitor and account for the mother’s condition during childbirth;
  • Failure to identify positioning in the womb;
  • Allowing or causing the umbilical cord to become compressed or entrapped;
  • Failure to identify fetal distress in the womb
  • Improper prescription of labor-inducing drugs.

If your suspect your baby’s brachial plexus injuries occurred due to medical negligence, don’t wait to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney while the details are fresh in your mind.

Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawyer Brent Wieand

Philadelphia trial lawyer, Brent Wieand, fights zealously for victims of medical malpractice. He is experienced in finding the medical records doctors don’t want revealed when sorting through voluminous medial records.  Upon representation, will work with leading medical experts in the field of OB/GYN and carefully examine your medical chart, including ultrasounds and gynecological notes, to find evidence to prove your case in court.

For a free legal consultation, call Philadelphia birth injury lawyer, Brent Wieand at 1(877) 654-3887.