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Brachial Plexus Injury

Nerve Damage Caused by Birth Trauma Is Preventable

A brachial plexus injury is an injury to a group of nerves running from the shoulder to the arm and down to the hand. Adults, children and infants may suffer this type of injury, usually in contact sports or in a fall or accident, but for infants, it's most likely to occur during birth.

A brachial plexus injury is a common birth injury that can occur when the baby becomes stuck by the pubic bone or experiences loss of oxygen and must be freed quickly. The injury actually occurs when a doctor, nurse or other medical professional wrenches on the infant's arm to free the baby. Doctors and other medical professionals who cause this serious shoulder and arm injury may have acted negligently in forcing the child free, causing significant nerve damage.

Long-Term Effects of a Brachial Plexus Injury

In general, a brachial plexus injury during birth will be visible or known to your doctor immediately. The baby will likely experience swelling, bruising, fractures and more in the shoulder or arm area. It's important to document the symptoms with notes and pictures, if possible.

If your baby suffers a brachial plexus injury during birth, the long-term effects will depend on the severity of the injury. For some babies, a minor brachial plexus injury will heal with rest, limited movement and medication. There are times, however, when a brachial plexus injury will require surgery or significant medical intervention. The following is a list of possible long-term effects, as provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Stiff joints
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Loss of feeling
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Permanent disability, paralysis or loss of movement

Even if the baby is likely to regain muscle movement in the injured region, there are certain treatments that can improve results such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. After a child suffers a brachial plexus injury due to negligence, it may be necessary to reach out to a knowledgeable advocate to understand your options for seeking reimbursement for medical costs and pain and suffering.

For More Brachial Plexus Information

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases.

To discuss your child's birth injury with one of our professionals, contact our office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We serve clients across the United States.


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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