The birthing of a child is generally a joyous occasion. In many cases, both mother and infant complete the labor and delivery process in relatively good health. In others, a complication can result in injury.
The types of injuries sustained by the infant can range from serious trauma to the head of the infant leading to brain damage to less serious brachial plexus injuries. Due to the wide range of severity, it may be tempting for a family to write off a brachial plexus injury and be thankful it was nothing more serious. But is that wise? This post will delve into the potential impact of this injury on your baby.
What is a brachial plexus injury? First, it helps to have a better understanding of this injury. The medical experts at Mayo Clinic define a brachial plexus injury as damage to the network of nerves in your shoulder, arm or hand. These nerves are important as they serve as a communication network to your spine. These nerves may not be able to communicate with the infant's spinal cord if they are stretched or compressed during delivery.
When would an infant suffer a brachial plexus injury? Most brachial plexus injuries in infants occur during delivery. Parents may not immediately notice symptoms. Symptoms to watch for include a failure to use the injured arm and a drooping eyelid on the side of the injury.
Why should parents be concerned about these injuries? A severe brachial plexus injury is unlikely to heal. The injury can result in Erb's palsy and potential paralysis of the affected arm.
What options are available for parents of a child with a brachial plexus injury or Erb's palsy? If the injury occurred during childbirth, it may be the result of the delivering physician's failure to properly manage. The family may be eligible for compensation through a civil lawsuit. If successful, this can result in an award to help cover the expenses of medical care for your child.