If an infant experiences trauma during delivery, the trauma may present itself through a host of different symptoms. One of these is called Klumpke paralysis, named after a French doctor who wrote the first widely-shared reports of the condition. Klumpke Paralysis is the result of an injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. If the injury occurs to the lower brachial plexus, then it may result in Klumpke paralysis, which is characterized by weaknesses and loss of movement of the arm and the hand. Some infants may also experience drooping of the eyelid on the opposite side of the face.
If your infant suffered trauma during delivery and is presenting with Klumpke paralysis or any other symptoms of birth injury, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. In Utah, Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law is a seasoned birth injury advocate who can advise you on your best next course of action.
Causes of Klumpke Paralysis
The primary cause of Klumpke paralysis is an injury to the brachial plexus. Such injuries may be relatively minor such as neuropraxia or stretching of the nerves, which is the most common type of brachial plexus injury, in which the nerve has suffered damage but is not torn. It may also occur through neuroma, where the injured nerve has healed but is unable to transmit nervous signals to the arm or hand muscles because scar tissue has formed and is exerting pressure on the nerve.
Trauma to the brachial plexus may also be a nerve rupture, in which the nerve is torn but not at the spine. The most serious is an avulsion, where the nerve is torn completely from the spine.
Klumpke paralysis usually occurs following an injury from a difficult vaginal delivery. This may occur when the baby has an abnormally large birth weight, has a difficult presentation such as being breech or face-up, shoulder dystocia where the baby’s shoulder is stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone, or multiple births. It can also occur during instrument-assisted delivery using forceps or vacuum extraction, or prolonged labor. There is also a link between this condition and gestational diabetes in the mother.
Treatment of Klumpke Paralysis
Treatment of the injured brachial plexus underlying the paralysis is often nonsurgical in nature. For the first two weeks, the infant’s arm can be fixed across the child’s chest by pinning his clothing there to alleviate the pain. In more severe cases, further evaluation and physical therapy may be necessary. If strength has not returned to the affected areas within three to six months of delivery, then surgical options may be considered.
Surgical options may either be neurolysis or nerve graft reconstruction. These are more prevalent if the plexus injury involves neuroma, a rupture, or an avulsion. With neurolysis, scar tissue around the nerves is removed and nerve stimulation is performed to confirm the transmission of electrical signals. Nerve grafting is performed if there is such a marked decrease in the transmission of electronic signals across the nerves. This may be performed by grafting in nerve tissue from other donor nerves in the body. Additionally, a tendon transplant may improve the flexibility and active movement of the joints.
If you have an infant that suffered brachial plexus injury that resulted in Klumpke paralysis or some other form of palsy, you may be able to obtain compensation if the medical professionals that cared for you were negligent. Charles H. Thronson, Attorney at Law, is a seasoned advocate in Utah with years of experience in pursuing claims against medical professionals for birth injuries. Do not hesitate to contact our firm today for an initial consultation by calling (800) 532-0021 or by completing our online form.