Maryland Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits
Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to the complex set of nerves that control muscles in the fingers, hands, arms and shoulders. The nerve damage can result in loss of muscle control or paralysis. Some brachial plexus injuries occur at birth as a result of medical negligence.
When medical professionals fail to meet the accepted standard of care and a birth injury results, they may be held liable. A birth injury claim can help pay for a child’s medical expenses and other losses, as well as for pain and suffering caused by the brachial plexus injury.
If you believe your child suffered a brachial plexus injury due to medical malpractice, The Abelson Law Firm, is here for you. We have assisted many families just like yours throughout Washington DC, and surrounding areas. Contact us today for a free claim review and consultation.
What is a brachial plexus injury?
Sometimes a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck against the mother’s pubic bone or tailbone during delivery. This is known as “shoulder dystocia.”
There are several recommended procedures for doctors to deliver a baby safely when shoulder dystocia occurs. However, excessive force to the baby’s neck or head – such as that caused by pulling on an arm or shoulder – can stretch or tear nerves.
Brachial plexus nerves originate at the spinal cord and are formed in three trunks located in the upper shoulder. As they branch out, they control the muscles of the shoulder, arms, hands and fingers. Brachial plexus injury (BPI), or brachial plexus palsy, can cause loss of muscle control or paralysis.
BPI goes by several names based on the location of the physical damage:
- Erb’s palsy (or Erb-Duchenne palsy) – an upper trunk injury.
- Klumpke’s palsy (or Klumpke palsy) – a lower trunk injury.
- Horner’s syndrome – when facial nerves are also affected.
Torticollis, a condition that causes the head to tilt forward or backward or twist to the side, is another term sometimes used in conjunction with brachial plexus injuries.
Injuries to the brachial plexus may result in full to partial paralysis of one or both arms that may result in a lifetime injury, according to the United Brachial Plexus Network (UBPN), a nonprofit support group. A brachial plexus injury compromises muscle function and the ability to grasp, extend and reach with the affected limb. It can also affect physical appearance.
What are the warning signs that a baby is at risk for a brachial plexus injury?
A brachial plexus injury may happen when a doctor deals with shoulder dystocia inappropriately. The UBPN describes several risk factors for shoulder dystocia.
- Maternal birth weight.
- Prior shoulder dystocia.
- Prior macrosomia (large baby).
- Pre-existing diabetes.
- Multiparity (a woman birthing her second child or who has had two or more children).
- Prior gestational diabetes.
- Advanced maternal age.
Antepartum (while pregnant):
- Excessive maternal weight gain.
- Short stature (mother).
- Postdatism (post-term pregnancy).
Intrapartum (during birth):
- Prolonged second stage.
- Protracted descent.
- Failed descent of head.
- Abnormal first stage.
- Need for mid-pelvic or assisted delivery.
A doctor who recognizes these risk factors should be prepared for the possibility of an impacted shoulder during delivery and follow the standard of care for procedures to avoid a difficult delivery. When those signs are missed or ignored and a child is injured, the doctor’s error may amount to medical malpractice.
What are the treatments for a brachial plexus injury? How can I pay for them?
Brachial plexus injuries may require long-term medical care. The UBPN says brachial plexus injuries may be treated with neurosurgery to repair damaged nerves (primary surgery), surgeries to transfer tendons and muscles to improve functionality (secondary surgery), physical therapy (PT) to improve strength and range of motion, and occupational therapy (OT) to deal with issues of everyday living, such as tying shoes, buttoning clothing and personal hygiene.
Parents of children with brachial plexus injuries may be entitled to money to help pay for treatment. A medical malpractice lawsuit may be an option for recovering compensation.
The medical malpractice attorneys of The Abelson Law Firm, have substantial experience handling brachial plexus and other birth injury cases. We can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
Michael A. Abelson has earned many professional honors as an attorney, including the highest “AV” rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Pre-Eminent Lawyers and the Lawyer of the Year award from the Trial Lawyers Association of Washington DC.
Birth injury medical malpractice cases are often very technical and require sophisticated analysis of medical records. Malpractice claims also have a statute of limitations (the time limit for filing a claim), so it is crucial to begin work on your case as soon as possible. Please contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.
- UBPN – What is a Brachial Plexus Injury?