Treatments for Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 24, 2021
When a medical professional performs a delivery, he or she must use proper birthing techniques to ensure that the child does not suffer a birth injury. Any damage during birth can be devastating, leading to permanent disability and long-term complications for the child. Unfortunately, many children sustain birth injuries during labor and delivery—causing severe physical and emotional harm. One of the most devastating birth injuries involves the brachial plexus, or the network of nerves that travel between the collarbone through the arm.
What Is a Brachial Plexus Injury?
The brachial plexus is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the arm, shoulder, and hand fingers. Any injury to this area can lead to the loss of sensation and bodily, leading to long-term complications. If your child sustains an injury to the brachial plexus during labor and delivery, he or she can experience mild to severe symptoms depending on the extent of the injury.
During childbirth, a brachial plexus injury can occur due to several reasons. The doctor may pull the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders too forcefully during labor, causing the brachial plexus to tear. A healthcare provider may use improper birthing tools, such as vacuums or forceps, that contribute to this force and the brachial plexus injury. In some cases, the doctor may fail to order a necessary caesarean section and the baby may become stuck in the birth canal, leading to significant pressure that could overstretch and tear the brachial plexus.
Treatment and Recovery for Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries often require long-term care. With certain treatments, an infant may regain function and sensation in his or her arm. In very severe cases, however, it is unlikely that a child will fully recover from the impact of the injury. Some of the most common treatment options for brachial plexus injuries include the following.
- Corrective surgery: Within the first six months after the injury, your child can undergo surgery to correct the brachial plexus damage. For example, a surgeon may transfer nerves from other parts of the body to the brachial plexus, which restores functions. This surgery may also involve muscle grafting, which restores blood supply to the nerve network.
- Nerve regeneration: Therapeutic treatment may help regenerate some of the brachial plexus neurons. Using a specialized chemical treatment, surgeons may be able to reintroduce sensory axons into the child’s spinal cord to restore nerve connections. However, nerve regeneration is very slow, and results may not appear for several years.
- Physical therapy: One of the most common treatments for brachial plexus injury involves post-surgical physical therapy. During your child’s physical therapy sessions, he or she will complete a series of exercises to gradually improve arm, finger, and shoulder movement. Over time, the child may begin to regain some movement and function in the affected arm over time.
The Costs of Long-Term Brachial Plexus Care
Brachial plexus injuries can lead to significant physical, financial, and emotional hardship for a child and his or her family. If your child sustains this birth injury, you will need to pay for long-term medical care, disability accommodations, and specialized therapies that your health insurance may not cover. He or she may not be able to develop at the same rate as his or her peers, resulting in painful physical symptoms and emotional trauma.
If your child sustained a brachial plexus injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, you could recover compensation for these losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit. This claim allows you to hold the at-fault healthcare provider liable for your child’s economic and non-economic damages, allowing your family to recover from the impact of the injury.
In these situations, an attorney can help. A Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer can guide you and your family through the litigation process and identify the damages you may qualify for. He or she will also gather evidence, enlist the help of expert witnesses, and craft a compelling case on your child’s behalf. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your pathway to optimal recovery.