Brachial Plexus Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice at Birth

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Get Help After Brachial Plexus Injuries Due to Birth Injuries Harm Your Baby

The birth of a child is a joyous moment for almost every parent. Every parent looks forward to meeting their child for the first time. While this momentous occasion is typically quite joyous, sometimes it can be overshadowed when things go wrong during labor and delivery. One example of an injury that can occur at birth, often causing significant injury is a brachial plexus injury.  While there are some natural causes of this, brachial plexus injuries due to medical malpractice can occur. 

This type of injury, while not always permanent can cause significant impairment and physical deformity in some cases. For some newborns, the injury is permanent. While not all cases of brachial plexus injuries are due to medical malpractice, oftentimes it is the result of inappropriate delivery techniques. When a newborn suffers from a brachial plexus injury due to a healthcare provider’s mistake, it is considered to be medical malpractice due to negligence.

Ask our personal injury lawyer and medical malpractice team at CK Legal if you suspect that there are issues with your child’s nerve injuries.  We can help protect your rights to compensation under the law in Oregon or Minnesota.  We represent victims and their families after catastrophic or serious instances of medical malpractice and birth injuries.

 The Brachial Plexus Explained

The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves that are bundled together. The nerves originate within the spinal cord and extend into the neck and shoulders. These nerves are responsible for movement, sensation, and function. If there is an injury to any of the brachial plexus nerves, it can affect overall functioning, impairing sensation, movement, and can even lead to a physical deformity. 

How Are Brachial Plexus Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice? 

While as mentioned above that not all brachial plexus injuries are due to medical malpractice, there are times when a physician fails to use proper techniques to safely deliver the baby, leading to a brachial plexus injury. Any time your child suffers from a brachial plexus injury, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney who can review your child’s case to determine if your child’s injury was due to medical malpractice. Examples of medical malpractice that can lead to brachial plexus injuries include the following:

  • Use of excessive force (i.e. tugging, yanking, pulling, or grabbing) the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders during delivery
  • Pulling or yanking a baby during a contraction
  • Failing to assess prior to labor that the baby will be too large for the birth canal, leading to a significant risk for injuries such as brachial plexus injuries
  • Inappropriate use of a vacuum extractor or forceps (extraction tools)
  • Dropping a baby after or during the delivery on their head, shoulders, or neck
  • Failure to perform a c-section in a timely manner and instead resorting to using more aggressive methods which can increase the risk for brachial plexus injuries 

Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries

There are different types of brachial plexus injuries. Examples of these include the following:

Neuropraxia – A baby is considered to have this type of brachial plexus injury if the nerve has been stretched, but is not at all torn

Rupture – For this type of brachial plexus injury, the nerve is torn, but is not torn at the spinal cord

Avulsion – This is considered to be the most severe type of brachial plexus injury. The reason for this is that the nerve is torn away from the spinal cord. Some children may have an eyelid droop due to this if the avulsion occurred in the lower brachial plexus. This is known as Horner’s syndrome

Neuroma – This type of injury occurs due to scar tissue buildup around the injury site, which puts pressure on the injured nerve. In turn, there is impairment in function as the pressure on the injured nerve prevents the nerve from sending signals to the muscles

Conditions That are Related to Brachial Plexus Injuries

There are a few conditions that are related to and are the result of brachial plexus injuries. These include the following:

Global Palsy – A child is considered to have this type of brachial plexus injury if all of the brachial plexus nerves are involved (C5-T1). This type of injury results in no movement of the arm, shoulder, or hand. Additionally, the child may have no sensation in the arm

Erb’s Palsy – This type of injury usually involves the C5 and C6 nerves while sometimes the C7 nerves are involved. A child with this type of injury may have adequate function of the hand, but the impaired movement of the arm. Instability of the shoulder joint may be present. This type of injury may cause a child to have their arm fully straight with their wrist bent. This is the most commonly occurring type of condition related to brachial plexus injuries

Horner Syndrome – Horner’s syndrome is a result of nerve damage that affects the eye, causing eyelid drooping and constriction of the pupil. This is sometimes seen with brachial plexus injuries involving nerve root avulsions

Treatment for Brachial Plexus Injuries

Treatment for brachial plexus injuries largely varies depending on the type of brachial plexus injury. For some babies, surgery may be required to fix the injury either due to nerve injury or scar tissue buildup from the injury. Some injuries require surgery to be performed in a timely manner to prevent permanent damage from occurring. 

Other babies may require intensive physical therapy which may or may not be entirely beneficial. Some babies may, unfortunately, be left with lasting permanent deficits. Some babies may recover without intervention but are very dependent on the degree of injury and type of injury. 

While it is our hope that all nerve injuries will heal, that is not always the case.  We know that victims and their families can really suffer long-term injuries and financial costs due to these mistakes, and we are here to help solve these problems to recover the compensation that a family and the injured baby would need.

Ask Our Birth Injury Lawyer for Help After Brachial Plexus Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice at Birth Harms Them

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwaukie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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