Cooper Law Firm - Personal Injury Lawyer

Injury of the brachial plexus at birth

As the time of delivery approaches for a pregnant woman, a Maryland health care provider might recommend interventions such as surgical delivery to avoid dangers for the baby or the mother. Such interventions have made it possible to reduce the risks of birth injuries such as neonatal brachial plexus palsy, a condition that involves nerve damage to an upper extremity. NBPP can occur through pulling or pressure in the area of the head, neck, or shoulders as the infant moves through the birth canal.

Although most cases of brachial plexus involve the upper arm, some instances could cause paralysis in the lower part of the limb and in the hand. Symptoms of NBPP are identifiable within a short time of birth. A lack of movement in a portion of the arm or in the hand could signal a problem. The absence of Moro reflex is also an indicator of possible brachial plexus neonatal injuries. A lack of grip or a flexed arm can also signal possible damage. Suspicions of NBPP might be followed up with x-rays to discern whether the movement issues could be related to a fracture rather than nerve damage.

Although the prognosis for a child suffering from brachial plexus is typically a recovery period of less than one year, there are cases in which permanent nerve damage could exist. In some cases, a clear risk of a difficult delivery might motivate an obstetrician to recommend birth by cesarean section. However, this method also poses some health risks to both the baby and the mother.

It could be challenging to attribute a birth injury like NBPP to provider error, especially if the affected infant recovers. However, instances involving a provider's clear disregard for issues such as a baby's size or difficult positioning prior to delivery might warrant a parent meeting with a medical malpractice attorney to see what options are available.

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