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When a doctor's mistake results in injury to your newborn baby, it is natural to feel anger and hurt. Your child may have to suffer and go through many years of trauma and doctor’s visits, all due to poor planning and decision making from medical professionals. If your baby sustained a brachial plexus injury at birth, you have legal rights and options.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your arms, hands and shoulders. If this network of nerves is stretched, compressed or in worse cases, torn away from the spine, a brachial plexus injury occurs.
Also know as neonatal brachial plexus palsy, when the brachial plexus is injured during birth, the injury can range in severity depending on the exact location and how the injury happened. One of the most common ways a brachial plexus injury occurs is when a baby is stretched excessively and pulled with a lot of force during delivery. If labor is prolonged and the baby needs assistance to make it's way through the birth canal, tools such as forceps or a vacuum may be needed. Some of the most common reasons why brachial plexus injuries occur include:
The use of birth-assistance tools are not always to blame for the injury. If a doctor applies too much pressure and force on the baby's head and shoulders while being delivered by hand, a brachial plexus injury can occur. For instance, in the case of shoulder dystocia, a baby's head is delivered but the shoulders are stuck in the mothers pelvic region. Dangerous medical complications can occur in this situation if an attempt to free the baby is made with excessive force. Bruising, tearing, and in some cases, fractures can occur.
There are other instances where labor is prolonged and the baby is stuck in the birth canal. However, uterine contractions can place stress on the baby's head, shoulders, and arms as it is pushed through the birth canal, causing injury.
A brachial plexus injury can range in severity depending on the exact location and how the injury happened. The nerve damage often causes inability to use the arm, a short and withered appearance, and/or discomfort and pain when using or stretching it. Basic functions become an incredibly arduous ordeal.
Neurapraxia is the least severe and most common type of brachial plexus injury. It is minor tears or strains to the network of nerves. It will typically clear up on its own within a few months after birth. This is because the actual nerve isn't damaged, only the protective lining surrounding the nerve is affected.
Erb's palsy is often used as another name to describe a brachial plexus injury. This occurs when the nerves in the upper part of the arm are damaged, it is a rupture to the brachial plexus. Partial or full paralysis may result, including loss of sensory and motor function to the arm, and the arm may be bent towards the body or may hang limp at the side. Surgery, physical therapy and medications may be needed, depending on the severity of the injury.
Klumpke's Palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury that affects the lower part of the network of nerves. It is generally caused by shoulder dystocia and affects the hand, wrist and arm. It results in numbness, loss of feeling and a claw-like appearance of the affected hand.
Watching your child go through something like a brachial plexus injury is heart wrenching and the physical therapy, surgeries, and doctor’s visits over time can greatly affect your finances, causing even more hardships. When this type of injury occurs due to a negligent doctor or hospital staff, it is considered medical malpractice.
If your baby has been injured because of the negligence of a doctor, you need professional, experienced, legal representation. Contact Willens Law Offices by calling (312) 957-4166 or by filling out our online contact form. You may be able to receive compensation for damages, medical bills, future medical treatments, physical therapy, lost opportunities, pain and suffering, grief and more.
The plaintiff went to a Chicago hospital for delivery of twins via cesarean section. In the delivery room, a suspicious rash was recognized on one of the twins and later, fecal and urine cultures confirmed the presence of candida. She was started on prophylactic anti-fungal medicine and is healthy. The other twin was clear of any rash and though she was at risk for fungal infection, she was not treated in a timely manner. Later, a head ultrasound and MRI confirmed the diagnosis and damage to her brain. A lawsuit was filed on the plaintiff’s behalf. The case was vigorously defended by lawyers for the physician and the hospital that he worked for over 3 years. Eventually, a mediation took place at which time the defendants offered $3,000,000 to settle, which the plaintiff rejected. It was not until trial that the case settled for $10,000,000.
Birth injury cases are among the most complicated medical malpractice cases to litigate. With years of experience in birth trauma litigation our legal team has the skills, the resources and experience necessary to address and win a wide variety of birth injury cases. Our legal team has secured millions of dollars in compensation for birth injury victims.
With decades of hands-on experience working with top healthcare professionals in labor and delivery, our legal ream has access to some of the top medical professionals in the world. As in many types of medical malpractice cases, high quality expert are essential in obtaining justice.
Our firm was established to focus on the unique needs of our clients. We work with top medical, life-planning, and forensics experts to determine the causes and extent of injuries, prognoses of victims, and areas of medical negligence. Our passion for helping birth injury victims allows our attorneys to deliver unrivaled legal services for your family.
Willens Law Offices have helped the families of children across Illinois get the compensation they need for a secure future.
We strive to give the utmost personal attention to each child and family we represent.