This week one mother was interviewed by WWAY News to discuss the serious, but underappreciated, harm caused by shoulder dystocia and possible brachial plexus injuries. Each Chicago birth injury attorney at our firm has worked with many families on these issues and understand the importance of being aware of the risks and accounting for potential complications. Far too many families only learn about these injuries after they strike a newborn unexpectedly. Sadly, the injuries often occur because of medical malpractice.
In the interview the mother explains the problems that develop when her son was born. She notes that she was pushing for four hour solid hours. She notes that she was lying flat on her back throughout this period, which is the worst position to be in and may lead to increased risk of shoulder dystocia. At this time her son’s shoulder became caught on her pelvic bone. As a result, the child suffered a brachial plexus injury. The mother specifically noted that the boy suffered an injury to his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae.
The injury caused some arm mobility problems for the child. He has limited functioning in the arms that were injured. She notes, for example, that he can touch his head but not his back with the arm. Surgery was ultimately required to try to improve the young boy’s arm functioning, but it remains far from perfect.
To help raise awareness of the issue the mother in this case is leading a petition drive to share information on the risk factors. She notes, for example, that more than normal weight gain during the pregnancy may be a sign of increased risk, as is gestational diabetes
The mother also referred those interested in learning more to the resource United Brachial Plexus Network,Inc. Their website can be found HERE.
The website provides a wealth of information. For example, it notes that two to three out of every 1,000 birth involves a brachial plexus injury. This is an incidence rate far higher many other, more well known injuries, like Downs Syndrome. In addition the website reassures mothers that the injuries are never the mother’s fault. In fact, the site notes that many of these injuries can be avoided if proper gynecological techniques are used through a delivery, including positioning issues.
If you are interested in delving into many of the specifics of the issues, a good first place to look in the resource page for the UPBN, Inc. The page is HERE. This includes discussion of all facets of brachial plexus issues, and ways for everyone to chat with others about any unique questions that they might have.
Our Illinois brain injury lawyers urge all local mothers to be aware of this birth injury. As we have advised many residents, while some instances are entirely accidental, there are other times when these injuries could and should have been prevented. If you suspect that medical negligence may have a played a role in your child’s injury, be sure to seek out legal representation as soon as possible.
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