Brachial Plexus / Erb’s Palsy Injuries
California Brachial Plexus lawyers helping families throughout Southern California
If your child has experienced a birth injury, you are likely upset and confused. You may not be clear on what type of injury your child has, and what caused it. If your child has experienced a brachial plexus injury, it is important to first understand the injury. The next step is to call the California brachial plexus lawyers from Donahue & Horrow LLP. We are passionate about helping families who have experienced birth injuries to medical malpractice. We are here to help take the stress off you and your family, so you can begin to heal.
What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?
A brachial plexus injury happens in 1 out of 100 births and is caused by how the baby is delivered. The brachial plexus is a collection of 5 different nerve groups that run from the spinal cord, through the shoulders, and down the arms to the fingers. These injuries are caused by damage to these nerves.
There are four types of injuries:
Avulsion: This is the most serious type of injury. Avulsion occurs where the nerves have been torn from the spinal cord. This type of injury is not repairable by surgery.
Rupture: This injury involves tears in the nerves beyond the spinal cord. These injuries can sometimes be treatable with surgery.
Neuroma: This is where scar tissue has formed around the injury, interfering with nerve signals.
Praxis/Neurapraxia: In this instance, the nerve is stretched but not torn.
Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries
These injuries are caused during the birth process, from an improper delivery. This occurs when one of the baby’s shoulders can become lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. This is a serious complication and can be fatal to the baby if not corrected immediately.
Doctors will often try and defend themselves arguing that it was an emergency. While it can be an emergency, it is important to point out that these situations aren’t completely unexpected. Babies get caught in the manner 1 out of 100 births. Also, an experienced doctor should be assessing any risk factors prior to delivery.
Erb’s Palsy and Klumke’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury and is caused by damage to the C5 and C6 nerves. This injury will cause partial or complete paralysis depending on the severity.
Klumpke’s palsy involves damage to the C8 and T1 nerves, which creates paralysis of the forearm and hand muscles.
Treatment for Brachial Plexus Injuries
Many brachial plexus injuries will heal without treatment. For more involved injuries, such as avulsion or ruptures, surgery will be required. For neuroma and neuropraxia injuries, the prognosis will depend on the severity of the injury, but many babies can make a full recovery.
If your baby has been injured, many doctors will adopt the “wait and see” approach. They will be initially reluctant to recommend surgery. It is important to be aware that waiting too long can create more problems, where it will be too late to repair the damage. There are several surgery options used for these injuries which include:
Neuroplasty: In this instance, the surgeon would remove the neuromas and scar tissue that has formed. This is a minimally invasive surgery.
Dorsal Root Entry Zone: This method is used in the case of an avulsion injury and is used to alleviate pain. It may or may not be covered by insurance.
Nerve Graft Repair: In this surgery the doctor will take healthy nerve tissue and graft it onto the affected area, so the damaged nerves can regenerate.
Having a baby diagnosed with a birth injury is confusing and frightening. You may feel uncertain about the future, and not know if your child will recover, require surgery or suffer from a permanent disability. Our California Erb’s palsy lawyers are here to help. We are a resource to provide you the answers you need. Come in for a free consultation. We can advise you of legal rights and create and action plan moving forward. Call us today at 310-322-0300 or toll free at 877-664-5407.