New Mexico Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyers
If Your Baby Was Injured During Birth, Our Lawyers Want to Help You File for Compensation
If your delivery is complicated by shoulder dystocia, a doctor must take careful action to ensure your baby does not suffer injuries. One of the most common outcomes of this condition is a brachial plexus injury—and while this type of nerve damage may be able to repair itself, your baby might need surgery to regain the use of their arm, hand, or wrist.
The brachial plexus is a nerve network that runs from the neck through the shoulders and into the arms, forearms, and hands. A brachial plexus injury, or BPI, occurs when these nerves are damaged in any way. Obstetric brachial plexus injuries, which occur during childbirth, are most common when there is difficulty delivering a baby’s shoulder. If the baby’s shoulder becomes caught behind the mother’s pubic bone, the brachial plexus nerves may stretch or tear as your doctor tries to facilitate delivery. This can lead to loss of motion or function in the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand.
Did your child suffer a brachial plexus injury during birth? This condition may require immediate and long-term medical treatment and care, which can quickly add up to thousands, tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in ongoing costs. Our New Mexico brachial plexus injury attorneys at Bandas Law Firm can review your case to determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against the doctor that handled your delivery. If negligence was involved, we can pursue compensation to provide for your child’s care.
We want to help your baby get the best care possible. Call our New Mexico office at (505) 393-6303 today for a free consultation.
About Brachial Plexus Injury
During a difficult delivery, your doctor should identify the signs of shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder does not deliver smoothly) and take the necessary steps to maneuver the baby into a position for safe delivery. They must also be careful to not stress the baby’s shoulder unduly if they choose to intervene using implements like forceps or a vacuum extractor. If the baby’s head is stretched too far away from one shoulder, it’s likely their nerves will sustain damage.
Negligence and substandard care can lead to serious brachial plexus injuries, including:
- Erb’s palsy, which is caused by injury to the upper brachial plexus nerves and may lead to loss of motion in the shoulder area, and difficulty flexing the elbow.
- Klumpke’s palsy, which occurs when the lower brachial plexus nerves are injured, leading to a loss of motion in the hand and wrist.
Brachial plexus injuries happen in about 2 of every 1,000 births. If your infant has been affected, we could be able to help you prove your doctor’s negligence and file for compensation.
Frequent Questions About Brachial Plexus Injuries
What Are the Different Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries?
Some brachial plexus injuries are less severe than others. Here are the ways this bundle of nerves can be damaged:
- Neuropraxia: The nerves are stretched. This injury is the least severe and will likely recover on its own.
- Rupture: A tear develops somewhere along the nerve. This is the most common type of brachial plexus injury, and it requires surgery to repair.
- Avulsion: The nerve is torn from the spinal cord. Treatment includes surgical replacement (which is different from, and more difficult than, repair). If the nerve to the diaphragm is affected, the baby may have trouble breathing.
- Neuroma: A nerve, trying to heal itself, may form scar tissue that interferes with its function. Surgeons can reconstruct the nerve or transplant a tendon from elsewhere in the body.
Which Babies Are Most at Risk of Brachial Plexus Injury?
Both mother and baby can display factors that contribute to the likelihood an infant will sustain a brachial plexus injury. Among infants, the risk can increase due to macrosomia (unusually large size for their age) or breech positioning. Mothers who are diabetic or who weigh more are more likely to have their babies experience this injury, as are those who have a small stature or pelvis. When labor is prolonged and/or forceps or a vacuum extractor is used, the rate of injury increases.
How Is Brachial Plexus Injury Diagnosed?
If you believe your baby has a brachial plexus injury, your doctor can run a few simple tests. They will assess the arm you think has been affected, focusing on indicators of:
- Grip strength
- Moro reflex (startle response)
If an injury seems likely, a specialist may conduct x-rays, an MRI, a CAT scan, or other tests to determine the best option for your child.
Legal Help for Your Brachial Plexus Injury Claim
Obstetrical malpractice such as a failure to recommend a C-section for a baby that is too large to pass through the birth canal or improper management of shoulder dystocia can have lasting impacts on your baby and your family. If your doctor made the wrong call, you should not have to suffer for it. Our New Mexico Erb's palsy lawyers have experience arguing medical cases in trial and have helped many clients recover compensation to pay for medical bills and other expenses caused by birth injuries. We can review your doctor’s records and talk to you about what occurred to determine if you received substandard care.
Call Bandas Law Firm today at (505) 393-6303. We represent families with birth injury cases across New Mexico.