ROB LEVINE, MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
VICTIM OF BRACHIAL PLEXUS? GET AN ATTORNEY
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves running from the shoulder and through the arm to the hand. Injuries to the brachial plexus can result in shoulder dystocia, Erb’s palsy, and Klumpke’s palsy. These are all conditions that affect movement and sensation in the shoulders, arms, and hands.
WHY DO BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURIES HAPPEN?
There are several reasons why brachial plexus injuries occur throughout delivery. It is the doctor’s responsibility to properly monitor both mother and child, as well as to use appropriate practices to ensure safe delivery.
High birth weight baby: Whether the child is too large, or the mother’s birth canal is too small, it is the doctor’s responsibility to properly monitor if it will be safe to deliver vaginally. If it is deemed high risk due to either of these factors, it is the doctor’s responsibility to suggest cesarean delivery.
Breech delivery: A breech position means that the baby is being delivered bottom-first. This position can be dangerous for both mother and child. In this position, there is too much pressure being placed on the baby’s arms and shoulders, which could result in a brachial plexus injury. It is the doctor’s responsibility to take the proper measures to ensure safe delivery.
Improper use of tools: During the birthing process, a doctor may use tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. If these tools are used improperly, or if the doctor uses excessive force while pulling on the baby’s head or neck, it may result in a brachial plexus injury.
3 MAIN TYPES OF BRACHIAL PLEXUS
Shoulder dystocia: This occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets lodged in the mother’s pelvis during labor. Shoulder dystocia happens for several reasons including fetal macrosomia, the mother is delivering multiple children, the mother is obese, labor and delivery are late, labor is induced, the mother receives an epidural. This injury can result in paralysis of the upper arm, Erb’s palsy, broken bones, and facial injuries.
Erb’s palsy: A movement disorder characterized by nerve damage because of shoulder dystocia, resulting in pain or paralysis in the shoulder, arm, and neck.
Klumpke’s palsy: A movement disorder characterized by nerve damage because of shoulder dystocia, resulting in difficulty using specific muscles, paralyzed arm, stiff joints, muscle atrophy in the shoulder, and lack of sensation in the arm or hand.
WAS IT MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE?
Although not all brachial plexus injuries are a direct result of medical malpractice, there are instances in which it could be considered as such.
- Failure to properly monitor mother and child
- Failure to suggest cesarean delivery
- Excessive force used during the delivery process
- Improper use of birth tools
- Failure to properly execute medical maneuvers
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