Brachial plexus palsy occurs in newborn infants when a complication arises during delivery, causing nerve injuries and hindering the function of an arm or shoulder. In some cases, the nerve damage heals on its own or can be healed with surgery. However, when the damage is more severe, the child may never regain full function of his or her arm.
In general, there are four different types of nerve injuries that can contribute to brachial plexus palsy. An infant may sustain more than one of these during delivery.
- Neurapraxia: The nerve is stretched but does not tear. The damage will usually heal without medical treatment within three months.
- Neuroma: The nerve fibers are damaged resulting in the formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue may put pressure on the remaining healthy nerve fibers.
- Rupture: The nerve is not just stretched but is actually torn. The nerve will not heal on its own, but may be repairable with surgery.
- Avulsion: The nerve is torn away from the spinal cord. This is the most severe form of nerve damage and is generally irreparable, even with surgery. In certain cases, limited function of the arm may be restored by using a nerve from another muscle.
These injuries are more common during difficult deliveries, or when a complication arises and the practitioner must deliver the baby quickly. Although the damage is never caused intentionally, a mistake or negligence on the part of the medical professional may result in life-changing consequences for the child. The lawyers at the Driscoll Firm, are here to answer your questions and help you understand your options for pursuing financial compensation for your child’s injuries. Contact our offices at (800) 900-7704 today.