Many types of Illinois birth injuries affect local residents on a seemingly daily basis. Some of the most well-known of these injuries include Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy. These are debilitating injuries that will affect the victims and their families for a lifetime. However, our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that there are other types of injuries that affect children at birth which are actually more common than these. For example, thousands of newborns are born each year with brachial plexus injuries. These are one of the more common injuries affecting newborns and often cause permanent paralysis of one or both arms.
A letter to the editor published in The Herald News by a member of the United Brachial Plexus Network this weekend shared the importance of becoming aware of this problem. The latest statistics available indicate that anywhere from two to five births out of every one thousand involve a brachial plexus injury. Children who suffer from these injuries often have lifelong consequences. For example, the story’s author explained that her own nine-year old daughter suffered a brachial plexus injury which affects her right arm. As a result she has had four surgeries in her short life. The surgeries have helped her have some function in her arm, but it will likely never be one hundred percent. The child’s right arm is shorter than her left, and her right hand is also smaller than her left.
This week is actually recognized as the International Brachial Plexus Injury Awareness Week. The goal is to raise awareness of the problem, help educate the public on the causes of the issue, and encourage others to help in the effort to prevent and treat the injury. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves on the shoulder that controls the movement of everything below it, in the arm, wrist, hands, and fingers. As one would expect, when this nerve bundle is injured at birth the resulting damage usually includes debilitating arm injuries.
One of the most common ways that this injury arises is when the child’s shoulder becomes stuck on the mother’s pubic bone during birth. This problem is known as shoulder dystocia. Unfortunately, the damage is often caused by mistakes made by medical professionals during the birthing process. When a physician or nurse applies too much force while trying to dislodge the child’s arm there is an increased risk in stretching that bundle of nerves and causing harm. In addition, breech deliveries also may result in this problem, because excessive pressure can be applied on the child’s neck and arms.
Our Illinois birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti have worked with many families whose children have suffered a brachial plexus injury as a result of medical malpractice. For example, in one case our attorneys helped a local victim recover a $6.71 million verdict for a young child who suffered extreme damage to both arms following a bilateral brachial plexus injury. The medical staff that was delivering her applied too much force to her tiny body during the breech delivery. These injuries come with many financial and emotional injuries for the families involved. Please consider contacting a legal representative if you find yourself in this situation to see how we can help ensure that your legal rights are protected.
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