There are many different injuries that happen during pregnancy and birth. One type of harm that can occur during childbirth is the brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that begin in the neck and extend throughout the upper body. Brachial plexus injuries vary in severity. Some children with brachial plexus injuries are able to make a full recovery, while others may experience some degree of limited mobility for the remainder of their lives.
Brachial plexus injuries are described generally and specifically based upon the nerves that have been injured. Erb’s Palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that occurs when the nerves of the upper brachial plexus are damaged, resulting in an inability to flex the elbow and loss of motion around the shoulder. Klumpke’s Palsy can result from an injury to the lower brachial plexus nerves and it is characterized by loss of motion in the hand and the wrist.
One major risk factor for brachial plexus injuries is shoulder dystocia, a condition where the baby’s shoulder is positioned inside of the birth canal in such a way that it is difficult for the mother to give birth to the baby without medical assistance. The presence of shoulder dystocia often leads to the use of forceps, a vacuum extractor, or force (pulling on the baby) to move the it the rest of the way through the birth canal. Understanding shoulder dystocia may be an important step towards preventing brachial plexus injuries.
Studies on shoulder dystocia have resulted in a list of risk factors that should be addressed to a medical professional prior to delivery. These factors include:
• Gestational diabetes;
• Excessive maternal weight gain;
• Excessive weight gain by the baby;
• The size of the mother’s pelvis;
• A history of shoulder dystocia during previous births;
• Slow dilation; and
• The use of a vacuum extractor or forceps during a previous delivery.
If a pregnant woman has risk factors for shoulder dystocia, she can consult with her health care providers to make a plan ahead of time for how they will handle it if there is an occurrence of shoulder dystocia during labor and delivery.
If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth, you may be able to recover from the damages that your child and your family have suffered as a result of this injury. My name is Charles H. Thronson, of Parsons Behle & Latimer, and I am here to help you. I have helped many families whose children were injured at birth to obtain the financial recovery that they deserve so that their children will always have the medical care, therapeutic services, and other forms of assistance they might need to deal with the consequences of the injury. If you have questions about brachial plexus injury lawsuits or birth injury lawsuits, I would be happy to answer them. Please call or fill out a contact form to schedule a consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.