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Brachial Plexus Injury

A group of nerves in the shoulder and neck runs signals between the brain and the fingers, hand, wrist, forearm, upper arm and shoulder. This sensitive neural network can become damaged if the doctor tugs, pulls or presses on the infant’s shoulder during a vaginal birth. The resulting brachial plexus palsy causes pain, paralysis, numbness, weakness and disability to an otherwise healthy baby’s affected arm.

Searcy Denney has been helping families of injured newborns for three and a half decades. Our medical malpractice attorneys can help you recover the compensation you need to obtain quality medical care and improve the chances that your child will have a normal, healthy life.

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

The brachial plexus acts as a central station from which nerves branch out to control individual parts of the arm. Palsy refers to a condition in which muscles become paralyzed. The body part affected depends upon which nerve fibers were damaged. The types of brachial plexus palsies are described by different medical terms, including:

  • Klumpke paralysis is paralysis of the lower brachial plexus nerves.
  • Erb’s palsy is paralysis of the upper brachial plexus nerves.

Doctor Negligence Causes Brachial Plexus Injuries

An otherwise healthy newborn sustains brachial plexus injuries when the obstetrician overstretches the nerves during vaginal delivery. For example, the doctor may pull on the infant’s shoulders in a head-first delivery, press on the baby’s upraised arm in a breech delivery or permit the baby’s head and neck to twist awkwardly in the birth canal. As a result, the brachial plexus nerve fibers may be:

  • Moderately overstretched — neuropraxia
  • Overstretched and form scar tissue — neuroma
  • Torn — rupture
  • Torn from the spine — avulsion

Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Palsy

Depending upon the level of damage to the nerves, the symptoms of brachial plexus injuries range from uncomfortable and temporarily debilitating to extremely painful and severely, permanently debilitating. Generally, brachial plexus injuries cause these symptoms in the affected arm:

  • Severe pain
  • Paralysis of arm, hand or fingers
  • Inability to grip or close hands
  • Numbness or total loss of feeling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint stiffness
  • Permanently, inwardly bent arm

Some children also develop Horner’s syndrome, in which the eyelids droop.

Treatments and Prognoses

Medical treatment may partially or totally correct the brachial plexus injury in some cases.

Physical therapy and passive mobility exercise can often improve functionality of children with moderate brachial plexus palsy. Until full use has been recovered, however, the child may lose valuable developmental time and may never fully recover.

Serious brachial plexus injuries often requires surgery. Doctors may splice fibers from the child’s healthy muscle into the affected arm muscles to improve strength and movement. They may also splice nerve fibers from another child to repair nerves that were completely severed from the spinal cord. Even after these complicated surgeries, the child will likely have a serious, lifetime disability.

Recover Damages for Your Infant’s Brachial Plexus Injuries

Recover damages from the obstetric team that injured your baby. Searcy Denney is available to discuss your birth injury claim at a free consultation. Our Florida Brachial Plexus injury lawyers handle cases on a contingency fee basis to allow your pursuit of your child’s rights, without owing us a fee unless we are successful.

Our Fee Promise: No Recovery, You Owe Us Nothing.

A Florida personal injury firm committed to giving it our all.

Call us: 800-780-8607free initial consultation

West Palm Beach

Searcy Denney 2139 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33409-6601
Toll-free: (800) 780-8607
Phone: (561) 686-6300
En Espanol: (800) 220-7006

Tallahassee

Searcy Denney The Towle House, 517 N. Calhoun St.
Tallahassee, FL 32301-1231
Toll-free: (888) 549-7011
Phone: (850) 224-7600
En Espanol: (800) 220-7006


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