Brachial Plexus Injuries and Erbs Palsy

Injuries to the arm and connected nerves can happen during childbirth.

In brachial plexus, the brachial refers to the arm, and the plexus refers to a network of connected nerves. The muscles on the fingers, hand, wrist, shoulder, and arm of a baby are controlled by these nerves. Injuries to the brachial plexus can occur during childbirth.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

The nerves on the brachial plexus can be damaged during difficult deliveries. These types of injuries normally occur when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck along the pelvic bone of the mother. This condition is called shoulder dystocia. It can also happen during breech deliveries when the baby is delivered feet first. In case of breech deliveries, the obstetrician may twist the baby’s head to get it through the obstruction and may cause injury in the process. These injuries include stretched nerves and complete avulsions where the nerves are detached from the sockets of the spine.

Long-Term Health Issues Resulting From Brachial Plexus Injuries

The baby may suffer from lifelong health issues as a result of brachial plexus injuries. The limbs can become partially or completely paralyzed when the brachial plexus nerves are damaged. These injuries include neurapraxia injuries and neuroma. Although neurapraxia injuries can heal naturally after several months, neuroma may cause nerve fibers to tear and may damage them permanently. Avulsions prevent the nerves from healing naturally. These injuries are severe since the nerves are permanently detached from the spine.

Erbs Palsy Caused by Brachial Plexus Injury

Paralysis caused by an injury to the brachial plexus is a condition known as erbs palsy. When the doctor takes necessary precautions and is prepared for dealing with situations that can result in brachial plexus injuries during delivery, the condition can be avoided. However, if the doctor fails to do so, there may be liability for medical malpractice. Brachial plexus injuries can occur during the following situations:

  • The doctor fails to order a caesarean section when the baby’s size is too large to fit into the birth canal.
  • The delivery date was misdiagnosed by the doctor and the baby’s size was miscalculated.
  • The baby was not rotated properly inside the birth canal during delivery.
  • The doctor was not careful in adjusting the shoulder of the baby during child birth.

If your baby has suffered severe brachial plexus injuries due to medical negligence, contact Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

Photo credit: drmama via Flickr

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