Brachial plexus injuries are common in child birth wherein the baby sustains irreversible damage due to medical negligence. These nerves are commonly injured during childbirth for more than one reason:

  • The newborn's head and neck are pulled towards the side as the shoulders drop through the mother's pelvis.
  • Pressure has been exerted on the baby's arms in a breech delivery.
  • A midwife or doctor has exerted pressure on the newborn's head during a headfirst delivery.

Brachial injuries in a newborn can be classified into various forms:

  • Injuries affecting the upper arm
  • Erb's palsy - injuries affecting the upper and lower arm
  • Klumpke's palsy -injuries affecting the hand

Listed below are a few factors that increase the risk of brachial plexus injuries during childbirth:

  • Infants that weigh more than average weight
  • Short maternal stature
  • Difficulty in delivering the baby's head once the shoulder has emerged out
  • Shoulder dystocia - difficulty delivering the infant's head after the shoulder has come out
  • Breech deliveries
  • Maternal diabetes
  • A flat or contracted pelvis

Symptoms of brachial injuries in a newborn

The following symptoms of brachial plexus injuries may be noticed immediately, or soon, after childbirth:

  • Baby exhibits decreased grip
  • New born doesn't move the lower or upper arm or hand
  • Baby's arm is bent at the elbow and constantly held close to the body.

What is the main difference between Klumpke's palsy and Erb's palsy?

While both forms result from brachial plexus injuries, there is a difference between Klumpke's palsy and Erb's palsy. Injuries to the lower brachial plexus nerves can cause paralysis and is known as Klumpke's palsy. This usually affects only the hand. On the other hand, the baby is diagnosed with Erb's palsy when the upper brachial plexus sustains injuries and is paralyzed. This generally affects both the arm and shoulder.

Brachial injuries in a newborn can be devastating and call for long term medical care. Often one parent may need to take time off work to tend to their child suffering from the repercussions of the injury.

The treatment too, is often expensive and will need multiple visits to the hospital and also rehabilitation. This is why it is prudent for a victim's family to file a lawsuit to claim compensation for lost wages, physical pain, and suffering, mental or emotional pain, and future lost income.

And, like all medical negligence cases, brachial injuries are rather complex in nature and also replete with opportunities for the party responsible to avoid liability.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a brachial plexus injury, contact one of our many tremendous medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000who have the experience in dealing with lawsuits for brachial injuries in a newborn.

We diligently go through the essential facts regarding your cases, consult expert witnesses, and methodically prepare you brachial plexus case for trial in such a manner that you receive rightful compensation.

You need one medical expert to back up your claim or you do not have a claim. We know how to get this ball rolling in the right direction. We know medical experts in this field and we will present them with your case. Do not assume anything until a medical expert decides to back up your claim.

There is no point in yelling at the hospital staff. That solves nothing and could only hurt your cause. You may need one of them on your side months down the road. The person at fault anyway is probably not even around. Call RMFW Law today! We have been around the legal block before!


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