Birth injuries: what is brachial plexus palsy?

Those Massachusetts residents who have been present for the birth of their child know that the process can be nerve-wracking. The birthing process doesn’t always go as planned and medical professionals may need to intervene in ways that are unexpected. As we have previously discussed on this blog, a doctor must obtain informed consent before proceeding with any intervention but, even if informed consent is obtained, a doctor error can result is a serious birth injury.

One common birth injury is brachial plexus palsy. This medical condition occurs when the nerves that control the arm muscles, known as the brachial plexus, have been damaged. These nerves are found under the collar bone and in the shoulder area, making them susceptible to injury when a child is improperly stretched during birth. This can, of course, occur naturally, but it can also be caused by a doctor’s negligence.

Those who suffer brachial plexus palsy may have difficulty using their arms. The condition usually heals on its own after about a month, but some children are unable to recover from the injury and have to live with long-lasting effects of brachial plexus palsy. These individuals may need long-term rehabilitation and therapy, and their ability to live a normal life may be minimized.

When these injuries occur at the hands of a negligent doctor, then medical malpractice has occurred. To recover compensation, victims need to take legal action. These individuals need to show that the negligent doctor owed them a duty of care, that duty was breached and the breach caused the victim compensable injuries. This can be a challenging task, especially when doctors and hospitals are represented by aggressive defense attorneys. Yet, a legal advocate can help a victim develop his or her claim in hopes of presenting a strong case for liability and compensatory relief, which may also help shine a light on the harm caused by preventable birth injuries.

Source: Seattle Children’s Hospital, “Brachial Plexus Palsy,” accessed on Mar. 10, 2017


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