The birth of a child is an extraordinary moment in a parent’s life, filled with joy and anticipation. However, when a newborn sustains a brachial plexus injury during birth, it can turn this joyous occasion into one filled with anger and worry.
Brachial plexus injuries (BPIs) are injuries that can occur during delivery of an infant, causing long-lasting and sometimes permanent damage to the child’s arm. While these injuries can result from unavoidable circumstances, they can also be caused by medical provider negligence.
Our brachial plexus lawyers at Fieger Law can examine the specifics of your case to determine if poor medical care resulted in your child’s injuries. We aim to help you receive compensation for medical costs and ongoing care expenses.
What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?
The brachial plexus is a complex network of nerves located in the shoulder and neck. These nerves control the muscles of the arm, hand, and fingers. When the brachial plexus is injured, it can lead to weakness, loss of sensation, and paralysis in the affected arm.
- Stretch (neurapraxia): The nerve is stretched without tearing outside the spinal area. It is the most common form of brachial plexus injury.
- Avulsion: Occurs in about 10-20% of cases and involves tearing the nerve roots from the spinal cord. Requires replacement of damaged tissue with nerve transfers. This injury can cause breathing issues and lead to Horner’s syndrome, indicated by a droopy eyelid on the affected side.
- Erb’s palsy: Affects the upper portion of the brachial plexus. Children with this condition typically exhibit weakness in the shoulder and biceps muscles. Babies as young as three weeks old may require physical therapy to prevent immobility, atrophy, or shoulder dislocation.
- Total plexus involvement: This represents about 20-30% of BPIs and involves all five brachial plexus nerves. Children with this injury may lack shoulder, arm, or hand movement.
Contact our Michigan birth injury lawyers at Fieger Law if you believe your child’s BPI was due to improper care during delivery. We can review your medical records to identify medical provider negligence and help you win a settlement on behalf of your child.
Common Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries
BPIs can happen for various reasons, but many common causes are associated with medical negligence during childbirth. This includes actions like:
- Excessive force during delivery: During delivery, the excessive use of birth-assisting tools like forceps or vacuum extractors by a doctor or nurse can lead to undue stress on the baby’s head and neck. This excessive force risks causing severe nerve damage in the brachial plexus region.
- Improper positioning: When a baby is improperly positioned during delivery, a doctor or nurse’s attempt to adjust the position can exert excessive force on the baby’s limbs or body. This strain can lead to severe nerve damage in the brachial plexus area.
- Delayed or misdiagnosed shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia is a medical emergency that occurs when a baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders get stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. Failure to promptly recognize and address shoulder dystocia can lead to brachial plexus injuries, among other birth injuries.
- Neglecting C-section when indicated: In some cases, a cesarean section is medically necessary to prevent brachial plexus injuries. When doctors fail to recommend or perform a C-section when indicated, they may be liable for any resulting injuries.
How Your Attorney Can Prove Your Child’s Birth Injury is Due to Medical Malpractice
To obtain a settlement for your child’s BPI and related costs, you need to prove improper medical care caused the injury. Our attorneys at Fieger Law can work to show that your child’s injuries were preventable and resulted from the provider’s actions. This can include:
|Action to Prove Medical Provider’s Fault
|Detailed Evidence Collection
|Gather detailed medical records, analyze birth videos, and obtain statements from medical staff present during delivery.
|Specialized Expert Testimony
|Consult obstetrics and neonatal care experts to discuss standard care practices and identify any deviations from these practices that were present.
|In-Depth Delivery Process Review
|Conduct a thorough review of the entire delivery process, focusing on improper procedures, excessive force, or missed indications for a C-section.
|Relevant Legal Case Analysis
|Analyze similar legal cases involving medical malpractice and brachial plexus injuries to draw parallels and prove your claim.
|Comprehensive Damage Evaluation
|Evaluate the full extent of the injury, including long-term neurological and physical impacts on the child.
|Medical Procedure Analysis
|Examine the medical procedures followed, assessing compliance with established medical standards and protocols.
Get Compensation for Your Child’s Birth Injury
Brachial plexus injuries during childbirth can have devastating consequences for the child and their family. Doctors, hospitals, and nurses must provide a standard of care that ensures patient safety during labor and delivery. You can hold them accountable for their actions when they fail in this duty.
If you believe that your child’s brachial plexus injury was the result of medical malpractice, seek legal guidance. At Fieger Law, our team is dedicated to helping and has a proven success record, including one of the largest birth injury awards in the nation.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We represent victims of your birth injuries in Michigan and across the U.S.