Medical Malpractice Claims Based on Brachial Plexus Injuries During Birth
A brachial plexus injury during a baby’s birth’s is one of the most common and preventable birth injuries. It occurs at a rate of about 2 out of every 1,000 births. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in all of our shoulders that controls movement in the shoulder and entire arm. If the brachial plexus nerves are injured during a child’s birth, the child may sustain serious and debilitating permanent injuries.
Brachial plexus injuries most often happen when a child’s shoulder becomes lodged on the mother’s pubic bone during birth. This is a complication known as shoulder dystocia. It is critical that the doctors recognize the risks of this conditions and, in the event that it occurs during the birth process take the steps necessary to prevent injury to the child. If a applies too much pressure while trying to dislodge the child’s shoulder from the mother’s hip bone, the child my suffer a brachial plexus injury. Brachial plexus injuries also happen in breech deliveries when there is excessive pressure on the baby’s neck and arms.
Doctors can look for the risk factors for breech births and shoulder dystocia and take necessary measures to avoid any brachial plexus injuries to the child. There are a number of risk factors for shoulder dystocia including: (1) Gestational diabetes; (2) Excessive weight gain during pregnancy; (3) An unusually large baby; or, (4) A mother with a history of having large babies. A physician must also make a pre-delivery determination as to whether a baby is in a breech position to prevent brachial plexus injuries.
Often a brachial plexus injury heals without the necessity of further treatment. Unfortunately, some result in serious debilitating injuries. A brachial plexus injury can range in severity from case to case. It may result in a reduction of range of motion or sensation in the shoulder or arm, all the way to complete paralysis or disfigurement. In many cases these birth injuries are completely preventable.
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