When parents are expecting a child, it should be a happy event they look forward to. However, when the baby is injured during childbirth, it can leave the family devastated. A medical malpractice case can arise when the patient is injured due to medical negligence. All medical professionals are required to perform their duties to a certain standard of care. When the care they provide falls below the normal standard of care, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. Injured victims have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries. According to the University of Pittsburgh, approximately two babies in every 1,000 births will suffer from a brachial plexus injury.
There are certain risk factors that obstetricians must take into consideration in order to avoid a brachial plexus injury. Some of the most common include excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes or prolonged labor. If your child experienced brachial plexus in Philly birth injury, contact a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer for legal assistance.
The Different Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that sends signals from the person’s spinal cord to their shoulder, arm and hand. They carry messages from the brain to the rest of the body regarding movement. The symptoms of a nerve injury could be as minor as a loss of feeling or a more severe injury could result in complete paralysis of the arm. There are four different types of brachial plexus nerve injuries, which include the following:
• Neurapraxia (new-rah-PRAK-see-ah)—This is when the nerves are stretched or compressed, which results in the temporary loss of feeling or movement. The most common cause occurs when the baby’s head and neck are pulled towards the side as the shoulder passes through the mother’s birth canal. Neurapraxia is considered the mildest of all brachial plexus injuries and many of these cases will clear up without treatment. However, infants will need to be closely monitored to ensure that feeling and movement returns.
• Neuroma—This type of injury occurs when scar tissues applies pressure to the brachial plexus nerves. These are not likely to heal on their own and often require surgery in order to restore complete mobility of the infant’s arm.
• Rupture—This is a stretch injury that results in the brachial plexus nerve tissue being torn apart or ruptured. These injuries require surgery in order to restore complete mobility of the infant’s arm.
• Avulsion—An avulsion occurs when the nerve is torn from the infant’s spinal cord. These are the most serious of all brachial plexus injuries. In some cases, a surgeon may be able to repair the damage by using a nerve from another muscle and splicing them together.
A brachial plexus injury can also occur when a doctor or midwife pulls on the shoulders of the infant during a headfirst delivery or pressure is placed on the baby’s raised arms during a breech delivery.
Should You File a Medical Malpractice Suit?
Some brachial plexus injuries may heal with occupational or physical therapy, while others may require complex surgical procedures. In some cases, the child may be left with a permanent disability. In the State of Pennsylvania, victims of medical malpractice must file a claim within two years from the date of injury. However, when the victim is a minor, litigation must begin with two years of his or her eighteenth birthday. Consult a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer for legal help in filing a claim for damages.
When to Get Legal Advice from a Birth Injury Lawyer
When an infant is injured due to medical negligence, it can be a difficult time for the parents. Therefore, it is important to hire a legal professional who is experienced at handling these types of cases. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney who has handled these types of cases before.