Atlanta Birth Injury Lawyers Seeking Justice for Victims of Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries
Handling malpractice cases involving Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy in Atlanta, Savannah and throughout Georgia
Birth injury doctors and hospitals should be prepared for the possibility that a newborn may suffer a brachial plexus injury during the delivery. There are steps that should be taken to prevent this well-known injury from occurring. When medical malpractice occurs and damage to the brachial plexus network results, your child may need additional surgery and may live with a lifetime of limited mobility, physical pain, and emotional distress.
At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, our Atlanta shoulder dystocia lawyers have extensive experience in birth injury cases. Our lawyers have achieved some of the top verdicts and settlements in Georgia. We have a strong reputation and track record because we address all the risks and preventive steps that should have been taken – prior to, during, and after the delivery. We work with experienced obstetricians and other doctors to verify what should have happened and what actually happened.
Common types of brachial plexus injuries
The brachial plexus is a nerve network in the shoulder and the arm that sends information between the brain, the spinal cord, and the arm. These nerves are required for mobility and sensation in these regions.
- Erb’s Palsy is damage to the upper part of the brachial plexus network.
- Klumpke’s Palsy is damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus network.
- Global Palsy is damage to both the upper and lower brachial plexus network.
- Shoulder dystocia is the wedging of the newborn’s shoulder in the birth canal, which can cause nerve damage by stretching the brachial plexus network.
When shoulder dystocia occurs, the medical team needs to take additional steps so that the delivery proceeds safely.
Types of Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy
There are four kinds of brachial plexus injuries:
- Neuropraxia occurs when the nerves are stretched but are not torn. This type of damage often heals in time.
- Neuroma occurs when the nerves are torn, but heal. The scar tissue can pressure the nerves and limit mobility and sensation. Medical treatment is needed to remedy the damage.
- A rupture is a torn nerve in which the tear is not at a place that attaches to the spine. It requires surgery and physical therapy to heal.
- An avulsion occurs when the nerve is torn from the spine. This type of damage may be life-long and may limit the growth of the hand or spine.
Surgeries and physical therapy are very expensive and can cause substantial pain and anxiety. Children who have to live with a lifetime of pain deserve to be fully compensated for this medical error.
Causes of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus damage
There are many reasons doctors, nurses, and hospitals may be responsible for Erb’s Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy or Global Palsy:
- Failure to properly plan for shoulder dystocia during the delivery
- Failure to properly monitor the newborn during the delivery
- Use of excessive force with birth instruments, such as forceps and vacuum extractors, which are often used to guide the newborn through the birth canal
- An insufficient amount of oxygen for the baby’s brain
- Failing to perform a Caesarian section for babies who are too large, or for a baby who is not presenting headfirst
- Failing to address excessive weight gain or diabetes of the mother prior to labor
Symptoms and treatments
Some of the symptoms of Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy are:
- The inability of the baby to move his/her arm or shoulder
- Limpness, weakness, or absent reflexes in the newborn’s arm
- Lack of arm or hand sensation
- Lack of muscle control
- An inability to grip or move the fingers
Typically, a neurologist is called in to examine and diagnose brachial plexus injuries. Common tests are an electromyogram and a nerve conduction study.
Treatments can include surgeries to correct the nerve damage, physical therapy, and even sensory re-education to help the brain communicate with the shoulder, arm, and hand.
Talk with a strong Georgia birth injury lawyer today
Early intervention helps both medically and legally. Our Atlanta and Savannah birth injury attorneys work with your treating doctors and independent doctors, when necessary, to determine cause of the nerve damage, the diagnosis, and the prognosis. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we also work aggressively to speak with witnesses and conduct discovery to determine what took place during the pregnancy and the delivery.
To speak with one of our trusted lawyers, please phone 404.998.8847 in Atlanta and 912.417.3774 in Savannah. You may also reach us through our contact form. We are ready to help you get justice for your child’s pain.