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Brachial Plexus Injuries

Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Affected By Brachial Plexus Injuries

When your baby sustains a serious birth injury during labor and delivery, it can be extremely frustrating and emotionally taxing to learn that the injury could have been prevented. Brachial plexus injuries are one common type of birth injury that commonly result in birth injury lawsuits. At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we have been assisting clients for years whose babies have suffered brachial plexus injuries during the birth process, including brachial palsy. We understand how serious birth injuries can be, and we are committed to helping you to obtain compensation. An experienced brachial plexus injury attorney in Philadelphia can discuss your options with you today.

In the meantime, it is important to learn more about brachial plexus injuries and brachial palsy among infants.

What is Brachial Plexus Injury?

As a fact sheet from the Mayo Clinic explains, the brachial plexus is “the network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm, and hand.” An injury to the brachial plexus happens when these nerves are injured in some capacity. Often these injuries occur when the nerves are “stretched, compressed, or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.” Not all brachial plexus injuries are especially serious. The Mayo Clinic notes that they can happen during difficult childbirths. The severity of the injury can vary widely.

A fact sheet from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) explains that a brachial plexus injury during childbirth can result in brachial palsy. The term “palsy” is another word to mean “weakness,” and as such brachial palsy refers to a weakness in the child’s arm and often a loss in the baby’s range of motion. In situations where the injury resulted in swelling and bruising around the nerves, movement often will return within several months. However, even in these situations, the baby likely will need to undergo special exercises to ensure that she or he maintains a range of motion in the arm during the healing process.

In some situations, the injury to the brachial plexus is severe. This type of injury can result in a particular type of brachial palsy known as Erb’s palsy, which was named for the doctor who discovered it. Erb’s palsy typically involves a paralysis of the child’s arm.

How Common Are Brachial Plexus Injuries?

According to the AAOS fact sheet, about one or two out of every 1,000 babies will suffer a brachial plexus injury. To put that figure another way, these injuries only occur in between 0.1 and 0.2 percent of all childbirths. However, due to their severity, it is important to understand the causes and symptoms, and to ensure that you seek compensation when the injury resulted from a healthcare provider’s negligence.

What Causes Brachial Plexus Injuries During Childbirth?

The Mayo Clinic cites the following ways in which brachial plexus injuries most often occur during difficult childbirths:

  • Difficult births in which the baby’s neck is stretched to the side;
  • Births in which the baby is in breech position;
  • Births in which the baby’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal; and/or
  • Birth in which there is a particularly prolonged labor.

When the baby’s shoulders are wedged in the birth canal, the upper nerves often sustain harm resulting in Erb’s palsy.

Contact a Philadelphia Brachial Plexus Injury Attorney

If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury during childbirth, you may be able to seek compensation. An aggressive brachial plexus injury lawyer in Philadelphia can help. Contact Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. to speak with an experienced attorney.

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