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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Childbirth injury: Brachial plexus injury

Childbirth is a natural occurrence which, for the majority of women and children, goes smoothly. Sometimes, however, problems arise and babies are injured during the birthing process. One childbirth injury that many children sustain is brachial plexus injury. Unfortunately, our staff at Cok Kinzler PLLP, have seen many babies who were injured in this manner due to the actions or inactions of medical professionals.

According to Medline Plus, a brachial plexus injury involves damage to the nerves of the brachial plexus. It can be caused by a difficult injury in which the infant’s shoulders are pulled on, or when the raised arms of the infant receive too much pressure during a breech delivery. It may also occur when a baby’s neck and head pull to one side or the other while the shoulders are delivered. Each of these injuries often occur when medical professionals try to forcibly remove a baby from the birth canal, often using forceps or a vacuum.

The severity of brachial plexus injury determines what level of brachial palsy a child must deal with. Some only affect one area of the arm, while others, such as Erb’s palsy, can affect both the upper and lower arm. Babies with Klumpke palsy experience nerve issues in just the hand and the eyelid opposite their injured hand. In some cases, these injuries heal over time. However, others are permanent and cause life-long issues for the child.

Symptoms for this birth injury are usually apparent immediately after birth. They often include the absence of reflexes on the affected side, a lack of movement in areas of the arm, or an arm that is held against the body and bent at the elbow. To learn more about this, please see our web page for additional information. 

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