Brachial plexus injuries are damage to the network of nerves which originate from the spine and extend out through the neck, into the armpit, and down the arm to the fingers. The brachial plexus nerves are responsible for the sensation, movement, strength, and overall functioning of the arm. Injuries to the brachial plexus, especially birth injuries due to Oregon medical malpractice, can result in significant debilitation. There are many different types of brachial plexus injuries and many different names of the types of brachial plexus injury. One is a Narakas injury which a type of brachial plexus injury that is classified according to a specific system. Anytime a loved one has been diagnosed with a Narakas injury, call our Oregon Narakas injury lawyers to learn what rights you have.
Understanding the Brachial Plexus Nerves
The brachial plexus is the name for the group of nerves that come off of the spinal column in your neck, or cervical, region of your spine. The brachial plexus is actually five separate nerves that combine at the base of the neck and travel down to your armpit together before they branch off into different nerve branches. Each nerve that makes up the brachial plexus has a different function and area of the body that it governs. Thus, one of these nerves could be injured by the remaining portions of the body could still function properly.
The nerves that make up the brachial plexus are C5, C6, C7, C8, and T1. This is also the order they are in the spinal column. As with all nerves and the spinal cord, the higher up in the body the higher up on the body that the nerve governs. To understand a Narakas injury, it is important to understand how these nerves function. Generally, most nerves will overlap with the function of another nerve above or below it on the spinal column.
The following is what these nerves control from their respective vertebrae:
Classification of Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries Under the Narakas System
Brachial plexus birth injuries, also known as Narakas injuries, can vary greatly based on the severity and location of the injury. The worst type is an avulsion injury, which is when the nerve is torn from the spinal cord. A rupture is when the nerve is torn at another location other than the spinal cord. A neuroma is damage to the nerve which heals itself, usually forming scar tissue which causes pain or disfunction. A neuropraxia is damage to the nerve’s protective covering, the myelin.
As for the location of the injury, the Narakas scale is how brachial plexus injuries are commonly classified. This dictates treatment and prognosis, as well as what therapies or surgeries would be appropriate. The Narakas injury classification scale is as follows:
Group 1 – Duchenne-Erb’s Palsy – Damage to C5-C6 causes paralysis, loss of function, and weakness to the deltoid and biceps which are the top of the arm. However, wrist and hand movements are generally unaffected.
Group 2 – Intermediate Paralysis – Damage continues one level lower and is from C5, C6, and C7, which results in paralysis, weakness, and loss of function to the deltoid, biceps, wrist, and fingers. Finger paralysis is to extension only, as flexion is preserved.
Group 3 – Total Brachial Plexus Palsy – Damage continues through all layers of the brachial plexus nerves from C5 to T1. This results in complete paralysis to the nerve which includes loss of sensation, movement, strength, and function, which varies based on the severity of the injury but typically a Group 3 Narakas injury means near-complete paralysis. Group 3 is without Horner’s syndrome, which affects the face.
Group 4 – Total Brachial Plexus Palsy with Horner’s Syndrome – This is the same as Group 3, only this time the damage causes Horner’s Syndrome to the victim. Horner’s Syndrome is caused by damage to the nerves in the neck (not the brachial plexus nerves) which affects how a person’s face looks or functions. Signs of Horner’s Syndrome affect just one side of the face and include a drooping upper eyelid, contracted pupil, and the inability to sweat on just one side of the face.
Bend/Portland, Oregon Narakas Injury Lawyers
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.
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.
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.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.
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