The “brachial plexus” is the nerve bundling that makes movement of the arms, hands, and shoulders possible. A brachial plexus birth injury refers to physical harm that occurs due to brachial plexus nerve damage. This type of injury results when a baby’s shoulders become wedged against the mother’s pelvic bone, a delivery complication known as shoulder dystocia . As a negligent doctor uses excessive pressure to extract the child, the shoulders remain stuck, tearing the delicate nerves of the shoulder, neck, and head.
Brachial Plexus Disability
Brachial plexus babies experience different effects, depending on the extent of nerve damage caused by the negligent physician or nurse. Many children will suffer from movement dysfunction or paralysis of the shoulders, arms, and hands.
One of the most recognized brachial plexus injury is Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, where shoulder dystocia results in injury to one or both shoulders and upper arms. An Erb’s palsy child may experience loss of movement or feeling in the shoulder or arm, often causing restricted use or total paralysis. While some cases of brachial plexus injury heal over time, many children will grow up with permanent disabilities.
Legal Rights After Brachial Plexus Injury
Most brachial plexus injuries occur due to a careless doctor’s use of excessive force during delivery. Failing to identify shoulder dystocia as a complication or failure to order a C-section once shoulder dystocia arises are often factors in brachial plexus cases.