The very complicated network of nerves that transfers signals from the spine to the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers is known as the brachial plexus. If these nerves become injured or torn, a wide range of complications can result, including stinging or burning to complete inability to use parts of your arm.
Injuries to the brachial plexus typically result from athletic competitions, slip and falls, or automobile accidents. However, brachial plexus injures can also result from birth injuries due to medical malpractice. A study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh found that brachial plexus birth injuries are one of the most common birth injuries. They affect almost one out of every 500 births. In another six-year study that looked at more than 100,000 births, approximately 2% of those childbirths had some form of brachial plexus injury. There are four general types of brachial plexus injuries.
The most serious of these injuries are avulsion injuries, where the infant’s nerve is completely torn and separated from the spinal cord. Rupture injuries, where the nerves are torn but not separated, are also serious. Neuroma injuries occur when scar tissue surrounds a slightly torn or injured nerve, putting pressure on the nerve, creating pain and discomfort. Lastly, neuropraxia injuries occur when the myelin (the “covering” over the infant’s nerves) is damaged, resulting in complications between the nerves that send signals to each other. Commonly, these types of injuries are the most mild and result more often by a stretching, as opposed to a tearing.
This type of injury in newborns usually results from shoulder dystocia, where the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pelvis or pubic bone. Serious and permanent damage can result from this to the infant’s nerves between the arm and shoulder. This may be accompanied by the fracture of the humerus or clavicle. Factors such as the length of the pregnancy, maternal stature, maternal diabetes, prolonged labor, and high birth weight are all risk factors for shoulder dystocia and should be assessed by the medical team prior to delivery.
The Hudson brachial plexus attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County. Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents. Please contact us today to receive a FREE case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.