The burden of financial expenses and emotional toll of caring for a child with Brachial Palsy can be a great challenge for families. Brachial Palsy is a severe type of brachial plexus injury, which impairs mobility due to severe nerve damage. Children with this condition suffer not only due to the severe mobility challenges, but also because it may require surgery and extensive medications. A child with this condition has a life-long battle ahead.
Baltimore, Maryland brachial plexus attorneys at Bennett & Heyman have devoted a practice of law in helping families with children suffering from childbirth injuries that can be avoided. Call or email us for a free and private consultation. Our phone number is (410) 727-2168.
What is Brachial Palsy?
Brachial Palsy (also known as “Brachial Plexus Palsy”) is a nerve damage injury that occurs when the brachial plexus fails to send signals from the brain to the arm muscles. It is called an Erb’s palsy when it affects only the shoulder and elbow muscles. Regardless of the variations of the nerve damage, the reality faced by the children and their families can be very harsh.
The widely held view these days is that Brachial Palsy can be prevented. The brachial plexus is composed of a group of nerves around the shoulder, specifically within the neck. When these nerves are compromised or impaired, arm muscles may no longer work. Unfortunately, this nerve damage is typically the result of human error that can be prevented. It is most commonly caused by the faulty or excessive application of medical instruments during childbirth. There are variations of severity of this condition. For instance, a more severe case occurs if the baby suffers oxygen deprivation—or hypoxia–in conjunction with the brachial injury. Any variation of this condition can present severe hardship.
Most Common Brachial Plexus Injury at Birth in Baltimore, MD
The most common brachial plexus injury happens when an infant’s shoulder gets “stuck” on the mother’s pelvic bone during birth and medical instruments are used to deliver the baby. The medical instruments used in these cases are forceps or vacuum. These instruments assist the process of descending through the birth canal during delivery. Obstetricians often fail to apply these methods at the right time or apply too much pressure, causing damage to the nerve. This is known as an OB/GYN delivery with a medical instrument –known also as “vertouse assisted delivery.” The brachial palsy injury is triggered by the use of excessive or erroneous application of traction or suction through the medical device. This results in damages to the nerves in the baby’s neck that is often irreversible or will require surgery, physical therapy and medications.
If your child has been diagnosed with Brachial Palsy in Baltimore, Maryland, you should talk to an experienced childbirth injury attorney. Since there is no consensus amongst physicians as to how or when to apply traction or suction, or if the forceps is a better tool than the vacuum, an experienced attorney will be able to discern with you if there are recognized precautions that could have been applied as signs of infant distress came up. This is where a lawyer can assist you in determining if negligence occurred during childbirth.
Brachial Plexus Palsy Symptoms
There is a time limit to bring a claim for birth defects, commonly known as the “statute of limitations.” Maryland courts requires legal claims for birth defect injuries have to be brought within 5 years from the time of the injury or 3 years from the time the injury was discovered. These actions cannot be brought after the child’s 11th birthday.
Call the attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. if symptoms below arise. Symptoms vary on a case by case basis. In cases of Brachial Palsy, the following symptoms are the most common:
- Loss of feeling in the affected arm, hand, or extremities.
- Muscle weakness.
- Intense pain.
- Muscle paralysisin the shoulder or upper arm (may be partial or total)
- Erb’s palsy.
- Klumpke’s paralysisis a form of paralysis involving the muscles of the forearm and hand, resulting from a brachial plexus injury in which the eighth cervical and first thoracic nerves are injured either before or after they have joined to form the lower trunk.
- Horner’s syndrome characterized by drooping in one eyelid and pupil constriction.
While not all childbirth injuries can be avoided, advancements in technology provide physicians various tools to foresee and prevent problems.
What is “Informed Consent” During Childbirth in Maryland?
Maryland requires patients to be told about the problems, risks, and costs involved in medical decisions. It stands to reason that information will be provided to a patient when a medical instrument becomes necessary during childbirth. Physicians today can determine if the infant is in distress or is having trouble descending through the birth canal. However, information is often insufficient. For example, consent is not sufficiently informed by simply telling the patient problems may arise. Experienced Baltimore birth defect attorneys at Bennett & Heyman will look at the specific facts and information provided at the time of birth to determine if the consent was informed as required under Maryland laws.
Patients are also entitled to information about the options available. Maryland physicians are required to provide the patient with options such as a C-Section before using medical instruments to deliver a baby. It also stands to reason that this information would be provided in full, but in many instances it’s delivered poorly. Attorneys at Bennett & Heyman will fight for you and look into the precautions taken to seek monetary damage awards that will alleviate the financial pressures of a lifelong disease.
Our Baltimore, Maryland Brachial Palsy Attorneys Can Help
Bennett & Heyman, P.A., is a Baltimore law firm with a team of attorneys who have helped Brachial Palsy victims get compensation for their injuries. Our attorneys want to see these children and their families get the recovery they deserve. The prospects for this child’s life can filled with challenges. Attorneys at Bennett & Heyman will fight for you with their experience in defending victims of the harsh conditions and side effects of Brachial Palsy. Call us before the time runs out. Our attorneys will offer a free and private consultation. Call us at (410) 727-2168.