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