Does your baby suffer ill effects of cerebral palsy or brachial plexus injuries because an obstetrician or a hospital was negligent during labor or delivery? Contact our Charleston birth injury law firm to discuss your child’s injuries and potential legal actions.
Johnstone & Gabhart, LLP, has earned a name for itself in West Virginia in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice claims and lawsuits. Our attorneys are available to evaluate your medical negligence case, make recommendations, and represent you in a negligence case such as a birth injury lawsuit.
With more than 50 years of experience in personal injury law, we are prepared to craft a strategy for pursuing compensation for your child and his or her parents after a birth injury. If your infant now lives with nerve damage — or did not survive — because of brachial plexus injuries, we can initiate an investigation.
Many of our clients are not initially thinking of money in cases like this, but rather, just want answers when a newborn has suffered shoulder trauma during the birthing process. Our medical malpractice attorneys are in the business of getting answers — and getting help — when our clients have been injured by medical professionals.
A baby living with disabilities because of a brachial plexus injury can often be greatly helped through timely, appropriate treatments. Some common treatments for brachial plexus nerve injury are:
- Physical therapy
- Adaptive therapies
A birth injury claim or lawsuit may provide your child and your family with the resources necessary to give him or her the best prospects for overcoming a brachial plexus injury such as shoulder dystocia or Erb’s palsy. Getting to the bottom of why your child was injured during delivery is the first part of a birth injury claim, but most families will also need help paying the inevitable medical bills that come along with helping your child to recover.
What Is The Brachial Plexus?
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that carries signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. The nerves control both muscle function and feeling in the shoulders, arms, and hands.
A brachial plexus injury can occur when these nerves are stretched or compressed. In the most severe brachial plexus injury cases, the brachial plexus nerves may be completely torn away from the spinal cord (also known as an avulsion).
What Causes A Brachial Plexus Injury At Birth?
Brachial Plexus injuries occur in about 2 out of every 1000 births. More than half of these injuries occur with no known risk factors being present. The following conditions, however, are known to contribute to a higher risk of brachial plexus injury at birth:
- Breech birth
- Maternal diabetes
- Prolonged, difficult labor
- Delivery requiring external assistance
- Shoulder dystocia (the baby’s shoulder being restricted on the mother’s pelvic bone)
- Excessive force used during birth, such as with forceps
- Medical error during a C-section procedure
What Are The Symptoms Of A Brachial Plexus Birth Injury?
A brachial plexus injury normally affects only one arm. The injury can cause noticeable weakness or even paralysis in the affected limb. It may also disrupt feeling in all or part of the arm and hand. In some cases, there will also be pain when attempting to move the arm, especially around the shoulder area.
What Conditions Are Associated With Brachial Plexus Injuries?
Brachial plexus injuries can be the cause of other, more specific conditions such as:
Erb’s Palsy – The patient normally has good function in the hand but may be unable to lift the arm or move it at the shoulder joint. This accounts for about 75% of all brachial plexus injuries.
Global Palsy – The patient can not move the arm, shoulder, or hand at all. They may also have no feeling in the affected limb.
Horner Syndrome – The result of nerve damage affecting the eye including constriction of the pupil (miosis) and eye drooping (ptosis). Sometimes seen when the nerves are torn from the spinal cord.
How Are Brachial Plexus Injuries Treated?
Brachial plexus injuries can be treated in different ways depending on the severity of the injury.
Natural recovery is possible. The nerves can regrow from the spinal cord to the arm at a rate of about 1 inch per month. A child recovering naturally will usually show a reduction in symptoms and increased movement in the affected arm after about three months.
In more severe cases, surgery may be required to repair the damage. These surgeries are usually done when the child is between three and six months old.
Occupational and physical therapy is also an important part of the healing process after a brachial plexus injury. Treatments that target range of motion, strengthening, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, Kinesio Taping, joint mobilization, aquatic therapy, and use of orthoses, may be employed.
Speak To An Experienced Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyer
It’s important to understand that when you are considering medical malpractice lawyers for your claim, not all malpractice lawyers are the same. When it comes to medical cases, a lawyer not only needs a complete understanding of the law, but he or she must also understand the type of injury that you are dealing with. The proper medical knowledge and the ability to convey that knowledge in a courtroom is crucial.
Contact Our Charleston Birth Injury Attorneys For Information, Advice, And Help
Did your baby suffer brachial plexus injuries because of an obstetrician’s negligence? Allow us to evaluate your case and recommend the best course of action. Our team is knowledgeable and experienced in medical malpractice and birth injury cases.
We handle medical malpractice cases in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky on a contingency basis. At your free initial consultation, we will give you a full, honest, and free case evaluation. If we take your case, you will not likely pay attorneys’ fees until we recover compensation for you.
To schedule a free consultation with a West Virginia birth injury lawyer, call 877-416-5457 or email the firm.