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Prevention of Brachial Plexus Injuries During Childbirth

Brachial plexus is an injury that occurs during a difficult labor and delivery when a baby becomes stuck in the birth canal. Brachial plexus results from severe nerve damage to the group of nerves running through the spinal cord from the neck to the arm. The actual site of the brachial plexus injury is the shoulder or neck, although there are other types of birth injuries caused by a difficult delivery including shoulder dystocia and brain injury.

A brachial plexus injury is often preventable. Most brachial plexus injuries occur during deliveries where one of the baby's shoulders becomes stuck under the mother's pelvic bone while coming through the birth canal.

This can result in serious injury to the newborn - or even death - and this scenario is treated as an obstetrical emergency. Though the incidence of obstetric brachial plexus injuries is quite low, around one to two for every 1,000 live births, time is of the essence to prevent further injury to the newborn child.

Unnecessary Pain and Discomfort Follow a Birth Injury

This tragic condition causes much unnecessary pain and discomfort to the infant. The symptoms or brachial plexus are usually obvious. Typically, the newborn lies with the involved arm lifelessly by their side. In an effort to reduce the significant and often permanent effects, the child often must undergo extensive physical and occupational therapy. By two years of age, any recovery that will occur should have occurred, and typically no further improvement can be expected absent surgical intervention.

Advances in obstetrics have made it possible for physicians to estimate the level of risk during pregnancy and take proper measures to guard against brachial plexus birth injury. If the doctor or medical professional doesn't evaluate the level of risk of a brachial plexus or birth canal injury and the baby is injured, the family should consider a birth injury lawsuit.

Birth trauma is emotionally devastating especially when it could have been prevented. Birth injuries also results in long-term, expensive financial burdens to parents and society. Mothers-to-be should discuss possible birthing emergencies with their physician in an effort to prevent unnecessary fetal or birth injuries to their babies.

After a Brachial Plexus Injury, Contact a Birth Injury Attorney

If you suspect that your baby has shoulder or neck nerve damage due to birth trauma or your baby has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury, contact an experienced birth injury lawyer. It's important to understand your rights following serious birth injury trauma.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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