One type of birth injury that expectant mothers in California should be aware of is the brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves extending from the spinal cord to the armpit, and these nerves control muscle movement in the shoulder, arm, hand and chest as well as feeling in the shoulder and arm.
Brachial plexus injuries affect every three out of 1,000 births, and their severity depends on whether the nerve in question is stretched, compressed or torn. A stretched nerve is described as neurapraxia. A rupture refers to a nerve that’s torn but not in the area where it’s attached to the spinal cord. In an avulsion, the nerve is torn from the spinal cord. In the case of neuroma, scar tissues interferes with the function of an injured nerve.
These injuries are usually the result of a difficult labor and are often connected with conditions like shoulder dystocia, where a baby gets one of its shoulders stuck in the mother’s pelvis during delivery. The main symptom is loss of movement or outright paralysis in the upper arm.
Oftentimes, doctor negligence can play a part in babies incurring a brachial plexus injury or other birth injury. For example, a doctor or nurse may too forcefully use forceps or vacuums during a difficult delivery. Parents of an injured infant may have a case under medical malpractice law, but they may want a lawyer to help them prepare it. Third-party medical experts may handle all the technical aspects while the lawyer may negotiate for a settlement covering medical expenses and other losses.