What Parents Need to Know About Brachial Plexus Injuries

It’s possible for brachial plexus injuries to be acquired throughout one’s lifetime, usually in car or motorcycle crashes. When a newborn is diagnosed with this sort of injury, the parents deserve answers. Brachial plexus birth injuries can range from relatively minor and temporary to permanent and catastrophic. Personal injury lawyers in the Riverside area who handle catastrophic injury cases can investigate the causation. In some cases, a birth injury may be the result of medical malpractice during labor and delivery.

Causes and Risk Factors

The bundle of nerves that stems from the cervical spinal cord and travel down the arm is known as the brachial plexus. The three main ways these nerves can sustain damage are by severing, stretching, or applying excessive pressure to them. In newborns, this can happen during a difficult or prolonged birth, especially if the child is of a large birth weight or is in a breech presentation. As the child passes through the birth canal, the shoulders can become lodged. The pressure can inflict damage to the nerves. In some cases, overly aggressive maneuvering or instrumentation usage by the obstetrician can result in stretched or torn nerves.

Brachial plexus birth injuries

Signs and Symptoms

Contacting a personal injury lawyer won’t be your top priority when you’re in the hospital with your newborn. But do try to keep written notes about your child’s condition in the event that you need to file a complaint. Newborns with brachial plexus injuries may display the following problems:

  • Lack of a Moro reflex on the affected arm
  • Lack of movement in the arm or hand
  • Decreased grip strength
  • Affected arm held bent and against the body

Babies who will recover usually do so within three to nine months. If your child does not regain movement, strength, and sensation in the affected arm during this time, it’s quite likely that the long-term prognosis will be poor.

Treatments and Rehabilitation

If the brachial plexus injury was caused by medical malpractice, a personal injury lawyer can help you seek compensation to cover your child’s treatment and long-term rehabilitation. Surgery is sometimes attempted if the child doesn’t recover within nine months. Before that time, the infant may benefit from gentle massage and range-of-motion exercises.

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