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Brachial Plexus Injuries Come As A Surprise to Most Families

No family goes into a pregnancy assuming that something will go wrong. However, while reading about the risks presented to new children, many parents learn about a variety of birth injuries that they might have to deal with, along with the odds of each one striking. However, there is one injury that most families rarely learn anything about, but which affects roughly two or three children out of every thousands-brachial plexus injuries.

As our Illinois birth injury lawyers have recently shared, brachial plexus injuries are caused by the stretching, tearing, or detaching of nerves connecting a child’s arm to his spinal cord. The injury usually results during childbirth itself, when the baby is extracted from the mother.

Recently, the Fergus Falls Journal discussed a local family whose son suffered a brachial plexus injury. It was explained how sometimes the injury is less severe if the nerves or only stretched. In that case, the problem may heal over time, with less long-term effects on the life of the child. However, the baby in this case suffered what is known as an “avulsion” which was a complete detachment of nerves from the spinal cord. The detachment involved nerves controlling his hand, wrist, and forearm. As a result, it effectively means that the boy’s arm is completely paralyzed. The child in this case has no function or feeling below the elbow (it just hand at his side). However, he has some feeling (but no function) above the elbow.

There are a variety of consequences faced by this family, beyond which most might suspect. For one thing, the child’s arm problems affect his mobility. He cannot crawl or roll over. In addition, the family has to be particularly careful that his wrist, arm, or fingers remain safe and do not get bent the wrong way. The child’s inability to feel anything there makes him prone to suffering an injury unknowingly that has long-term complications.

The boy’s has already undergone surgery in an attempt to correct a few torn nerves in the arm. The surgery involved the taking of certain nerves from the baby’s feet and moving them into the arm. This will result in decreased sensation on the outside of his feet, but it should not affect his walking or running. In addition, the baby undergoes physical therapy exercises every day in an effort to improve his range of motion. It is vital that the family work both with his good arm and affected arm, so that the growing child understands that he actually has two arms.

The family has been left with a lot of questions about the cause of the injury. They have since learned that repositioning the mother during birth can open the pelvis about 30 percent more, usually enough to allow a child to exit without injury. Similarly, having a C-section performing when a particularly big child is born often prevents these sorts of injuries. In all cases in our area where a medical professional failed to act reasonably, leading to a birth injury, the involved families should know that they can contact a Chicago birth injury lawyer to learn if they have a legal action against the wrongdoers.

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