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Nerve damage during birth is often preventable

When expectant parents worry about birth injuries, they often think of things like cerebral palsy and shoulder dystocia. While many people are aware that there may be a risk of a baby suffering those injuries at birth, there are a number of other birth injuries that could happen as well. A fairly common type of birth injury that many Michigan residents are less aware of is brachial plexus.

Brachial plexus is more commonly called Erb's palsy. This injury generally takes place when a baby's shoulder or neck nerves are ruptured during birth. In some cases, the damages are temporary, but in others this leads to a permanent disability. Many brachial plexus injuries could have been avoided, and a Missouri family is currently working to raise awareness to this type of birth injury.

The family has a son who sustained a brachial plexus injury. Now a child, he has undergone several surgeries and therapies, and there are more to come, to lessen the related disabilities.

About three of every 1000 babies sustain a brachial plexus injury. In some cases, brachial plexus injuries occur as doctors pull a baby's arms during birth.

Very often, there are warning signs that show that there will be a risk of a brachial plexus injury to the baby. Ignoring such signs or delaying a C-section can result in major consequences.

Warning signs might include:

  • The baby is nine pounds or more
  • The baby is breached
  • The mother has gained a significant amount of weight during the pregnancy, or has developed gestational diabetes
  • The mother has been pregnant more than 40 weeks.

When a child is born with nerve damage, such as Erb's Palsy, due to negligence during delivery, it is important for parents to study their legal rights and options. It may be possible to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to obtain compensation for related medical expenses and other damages.

Source: Boonville Daily News, "Fundraiser to bring awareness to Brachial Plexus," Edward Lang, March 1, 2013

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