My Baby Has a Brachial Plexus Injury, Is this Medical Malpractice? Minnesota Medical Malpractice Lawyer Explains

Brachial Plexus Injuries to Infants are Likely Caused by Minnesota Medical Malpractice


Any time a newborn baby has a brachial plexus injury, it is important to contact a Minnesota medical malpractice attorney to immediately investigate.  These types of injuries can be extensive and incredibly painful or debilitating, and they can be permanent.  While very minor and non-permanent brachial plexus injury can occur naturally through the birthing process, in most instances a brachial plexus injury is caused by the negligence of a healthcare provider.  This could be caused by your family practitioner, OB/GYN, or the hospital/office staff assisting with the delivery such as the nursing staff.



Understanding What a Brachial Plexus Injury Is


A brachial plexus injury, also known as Erb’s Palsy, is damage to the bundle of nerves that come from the spine and extend down the arm.  The “brachial plexus” is the name for a group or bundle of the nerves.  These nerves originate in the cervical vertebrae, or the neck.  The group of nerves come off each individual vertebra and combine at the base of the neck.  The nerves extend through the shoulder girdle and combine and recombine into groups as they extend down the arm and ultimately to the fingertips.


This group of nerves is fragile, especially in an infant.  These nerves can be easily damaged when they over-extended or pulled.  This is particularly how most brachial plexus injuries occur to an infant – when the infant’s arm or shoulder is pulled in one direction, but the neck and spine resist in another direction.  That extension and pull causes the nerves to stretch.  If the stretching goes too far, it can rupture the nerves.


Classifications of Brachial Plexus Injuries


There are four classification of brachial plexus injuries, which include the following:


  • Avulsion injuries – this is the most serious type of brachial plexus injury where the infant’s nerve is completely torn and separated from the spinal cord. This type of injury is likely permanent, and motor loss of use and sensation are likely debilitated or completely gone.


  • Rupture injuries – this is where the infant’s nerve is torn or damaged but not completely separated from the spinal cord. Sometimes these injuries can heal without future complications or just minor debilitations, but other times these injuries do not heal properly.


  • Neuroma injuries – this is where the infant’s nerves are slightly torn or damaged, but not as severe as an avulsion or rupture. Scar tissue develops around the injury which results in pressure on the nerve causing pain and discomfort.  Sometimes this can be very painful that surgical intervention is required.


  • Neuropraxia injuries – this type of injury is where the myelin, or the covering over the individual nerves, is damaged. This can result in communication problems between individual nerve signals.


Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries Caused by Minnesota Medical Malpractice


There are several types of medical errors that can cause a brachial plexus injury to an infant.  If these mistakes are the result of negligence, the victim may be entitled to compensation for his or her injuries—even if that victim is just an infant.  Infants are the most vulnerable members of our society and their rights must be protected.  For them to begin life with a serious brachial plexus injury is unacceptable, particularly when that injury is caused by a medical mistake.


Some common medical mistakes resulting in brachial plexus injuries are the following:


  • Pulling on the baby’s arm, including erratically or against contractions;
  • Failure to diagnose shoulder dystocia and continuing to pull on the baby’s head during shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged in the mother’s pelvis or pubic bone.  Brachial plexus and erb’s palsy injuries occur when the medical professionals still have the mother push with contractions or pull on the baby’s arm, neck, or head while the infant’s shoulder is stuck;
  • Improper use or excessive use of the surgical vacuum or tools like forceps;
  • Failure to timely schedule an emergency c-section for a large infant (fetal macrosomia) which may not be able to be delivered naturally; and
  • Many other causes.


Call a Minnesota Medical Malpractice Attorney if Your Infant has a Brachial Plexus Injury


Here at Kuhlman Law, LLC, we handle serious Minnesota birth injury cases to infants such as brachial plexus injuries caused by a negligent healthcare provider.  We have the resources necessary and the knowledge required to zealously represent you and your loved ones injured due to medical malpractice in Minneapolis and St. Paul Minnesota and anywhere else throughout the state.  Contact us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (612) 444-3374 to learn how we can help protect your rights to compensation for your injuries.


If we accept your case, we will conduct a thorough review of your case and advise you whether there may have been a serious medical mistake causing your injury.   There is no risk, and you do not owe us money unless we win your case.

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