Home » West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer » West Palm Beach Birth Injury Lawyer » West Palm Beach Brachial Plexus Lawyer
February 28, 2020
Birth defects are often unavoidable, but sometimes they can be prevented. This is the case with a wide range of conditions, including cerebral palsy and damage to the brachial plexus. When too much pressure is placed on the brachial plexus during delivery, it stretches the nerves and causes weakness, numbness and a loss of motion in the infant’s arms. While sometimes impossible to avoid (such as in the case of an above average sized baby being delivered vaginally), it is often the result of incorrect manipulation on the part of the doctor delivering the child.
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located close to the neck. This nerve bundle is responsible for controlling both arms, including feeling, muscle control and range of motion. Because of the nerve bundle’s location, it can be easily damaged during manipulation while birthing.
Brachial plexus palsy, also called Erb’s palsy, occurs when the brachial plexus nerve bundle is stretched out, damaging it, and sometimes tearing it. There are several potential causes here, all due to trauma experienced during birth, but not all related to negligence or medical malpractice.
One of the most common causes of this condition is rough manipulation of the baby’s shoulders while exiting the birth canal. However, this is far from the only reason. If the baby’s head moves to the side and a shoulder lodges in the mother’s pelvic bones, this can also cause brachial plexus damage. It’s also very common during breech births. In these types of births, the baby emerges feet first. Often, the infant’s arms are raised above the head, and the force put on the arms and shoulders during birth can stretch or tear the brachial plexus.
As you might imagine, the broad range of causes means that proving the condition was created through negligence or malpractice is very difficult. Brachial plexus lawyers have the experience, skill and knowledge to help.
There are several gradations of severity here (types of damage). One is called neurapraxia – the nerve bundle is stretched, but not torn. These types of injuries will usually heal quickly. Neuroma – this type of injury can result in the formation of scar tissue, and may require surgery. Rupture – ruptures will not heal on their own, and will definitely require surgical intervention. Avulsion – avulsions are sometimes not repairable at all, meaning the loss of muscle control, range of motion and sensation may be permanent.
Unlike many other forms of palsy sustained during gestation and birth, brachial plexus palsy often heals on its own over time. It can take between 6 and 12 months for the injury to heal. However, severe cases will require medical treatment. Physical therapy is often able to restore range of motion, muscle control and physical sensation in the arms, but if the nerve bundle was severely torn and scar tissue develops around healthy nerves, surgery must be performed to remove it before a full recovery is possible. Physical therapy can be expensive, and surgery can be prohibitively costly. There’s also a chance that your insurance will not cover either therapy or surgery, leaving you responsible for footing the bill alone. If the injury was due to negligence or medical malpractice, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If your child has suffered from this form of palsy, it may be related to negligence or malpractice. Contact the law offices of Casey D. Shomo for a full consultation on your case. Our brachial plexus lawyers will help you fight for what’s right.