Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy, Brachial Plexus & Other Injuries: Who’s Affected?
Do you have a child who suffered a severe birth injury in 2010 or later?
Are you looking for a birth injury lawyer you know you can trust?
If you have a child who suffered a birth injury, we will connect you to a birth injury lawyer with years of experience in complex birth injury matters who will evaluate your case to see your child’s birth injury is the result of medical malpractice and if you qualify to take legal action against those who may be responsible.
Enlisting the help of a birth injury attorney can your child obtain compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Some common birth injuries include:
If you’re the parent of who a child who suffered from a birth injury, you have the right to get answers about what happened. You may also have the right to compensation for the lifelong costs associated with raising a child with special needs.
Are Birth Injuries the Result of Medical Malpractice?
Giving birth is a joyous occasion. But that joy can quickly turn to pain when the child is physically injured during childbirth. Sometimes these birth injuries are the result of medical negligence — a heartbreaking discovery for parents who realize their child’s injuries could have been prevented.
Parents expect doctors and nurses to make the right decisions during labor and delivery that will allow their child to come into this world safely and without harm. However, in most birth injury cases, the injury could have been prevented.
Approximately 28,000 birth injuries happen each year, according to the Birth Injury Guide. Six to eight out of every 1,000 infants in the United States are born with a birth injury.
It’s important to note not all birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice. That’s why it’s important to seek counsel with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer (obtain a free case evaluation with one by filling out the form on this page).
Two of the most common birth injuries seen in infants are cerebral palsy and traumatic brain damage. These are not always caused by medical malpractice, but in some cases they are.
Both cerebral palsy and brain damage from a head injury caused by childbirth are not always evident right away. It can take several years for symptoms of cerebral palsy and brain damage to become apparent.
Other major birth injuries include facial paralysis, spinal cord injury, fractured bones, bacterial infections, brachial plexus damage (damage to the nerves that control the arms and hands), and retinopathy of prematurity (the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the retina, found in premature babies).
Some of these childbirth injuries will get better on their own, but many of them create permanent health problems for the child. Caring for a disabled child can be difficult and expensive, putting a strain on a family’s financial resources and relationships.
Parents often want answers about what happened to their child, and whether the injury could have been prevented. Often, doctors and nurses refuse to answer these questions, and it takes a personal injury lawyer and/or medical expert to determine the truth about the events surrounding the child’s traumatic birth.
How Can a Birth Injury Attorney Help?
A birth injury lawyer can help determine what happened to your child during birth and if it could have been prevented. If it’s determined the injury was caused by medical malpractice or negligence, a birth injury lawyer can help determine the best course of action to ensure you and your child are financially compensated. This may be especially necessary if your child needs a lifetime of care.
Typically, a birth injury lawsuit settlement can recover monetary damages for the injured child for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Economic damages
- Future loss of earnings
- Extraordinary care (such as caregivers, physical therapy, special education and training, and other anticipated costs)
- Pain and suffering
The birth injury victim’s family may also recover damages for out-of-pocket expenses related to providing for the injured child, in addition to pain and suffering and other damages.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury, or birth trauma, is damage that happens to a baby during labor and delivery. There are numerous complications that can cause a birth injury, including oxygen deprivation, excessive pressure to the head or body, maternal infections, and difficult labor. The injuries can vary from minor, such as a scratch or bruise, to a permanent injury such as cerebral palsy or brain trauma.
Read more: What Is a Birth Injury?
Are Birth Injuries Preventable?
In most cases, birth injuries are preventable. Scenarios that may lead to a birth injury as the result of medical negligence include:
- Improperly pulling or twisting the baby during delivery
- Mishandling medical devices, such as vacuum extraction tools or forceps
- Giving the wrong medicine or amount of medication to the mother during labor
- Not properly monitoring the baby’s heartbeat for possible distress
- Not performing an emergency C-section once it’s determined the baby is under distress
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy happens when there is abnormal brain development or brain damage that impacts muscle control and movement. Up to 90% of cerebral palsy cases occur before or during the birth process, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The severity of cerebral palsy can vary from minor impairments to complete muscle paralysis.
There are a variety of situations that can put a baby at risk for cerebral palsy such as fetal distress, umbilical cord problems, and abnormal fetal position. However, cerebral palsy can be avoided in these and other situations if medical professionals manage such situations correctly and follow standards of care.
For example, if a baby is in distress during birth because the baby’s heart rate drops significantly, this can result in oxygen deprivation, which can lead to the type of brain damage that can cause cerebral palsy. In that type of situation, the delivery should happen as soon as possible, which may mean an emergency C-section so the oxygen deprivation isn’t prolonged. If a doctor fails to act in this case and an injury occurs, the doctor may be at fault for causing the brain trauma.
Read more: Why Does My Child Have Cerebral Palsy?
Should You File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?
A cerebral palsy lawsuit can’t undo the damage from the birth injury that caused the cerebral palsy, but it can help provide your child and your family with financial compensation to pay for medical costs and, in some cases, a lifetime of care.
What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a weakness or paralysis in the arm that is caused by nerve damage, which often happens to children during birth. It typically happens if a baby is pulled or forced into delivering while the shoulder is stuck behind the pelvic bone. This is also called a shoulder dystocia delivery. A delivery such as this may damage the brachial plexus, a system of nerves in the neck and shoulder area. This damage develops into Erb’s palsy.
Erb’s palsy may self-correct in some cases, but othre children need surgery to help repair the damage to regain mobility.
Erb’s palsy goes by several names, including:
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Erb-Duchenne palsy
- Erb’s paralysis
- Duchenne-Erb palsy
- Duchenne-Erb syndrome
- Upper brachial plexus paralysis, Erb-Duchenne type
What Is Shoulder Dystocia?
Shoulder dystocia can happen because the baby is too big to fit through the birth canal, is pulled by the face, or is born face first or in a breached position.
These scenarios can cause the baby to become stuck or lodged in the mother’s pelvic bone, creating extreme stress on the baby’s shoulder and/or neck.
It is typically recognized once the baby’s head is already out. If a physician tries to force the baby out, it may lead to injuries, including brachial plexus, broken bones, and facial injuries.
Read more: How Does Shoulder Dystocia Occur?
What Is Brachial Plexus?
Brachial plexus is an injury that occurs when the brachial plexus nerves are damaged. The brachial plexus nerves go from the spinal cord through the neck and into the arms.
Symptoms of a brachial plexus injury include muscle weakness in the neck and shoulder area, full or partial paralysis in the affected arm, and no movement or limited movement on the affected side, among others.
Other names for brachial plexus injuries include:
- Brachial plexus palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Klumpke’s palsy
What Is a Brain Injury?
Brain damage from birth trauma may be caused by oxygen deprivation, physical trauma, and maternal infections. Such brain damage may result in disabilities that the child has for his or her entire life.
Oxygen deprivation may lead to autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impaired vision and cerebral palsy. Physical trauma during birth may be caused by misuse of birthing tools and excessive pulling or twisting during labor. Other causes include premature birth or a rapid or long delivery.
Some maternal infections that may lead to brain damage include cystitis, pyelonephritis, venereal warts, vaginal yeast infections, the herpes simplex virus, group B strep, and urinary tract infections.
Mothers should be monitored for infections during prenatal visits by their doctors so that harm to the baby can be avoided.
Read more: What Is Infant Brain Damage?
Get Help – It’s Free
Join This Birth Injury Case Evaluation
If you qualify, a birth injury attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your potential case at no charge to you.
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In general, birth injury lawsuits are filed individually by each plaintiff and are not class actions. After you fill out the form, the birth injury attorney who works with Top Class Actions will contact you if you qualify to let you know if an individual lawsuit or class action lawsuit is best for you.
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