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What You Need to Know About Your Newborn’s Broken Clavicle

| Nov 29, 2014 | Birth Injuries

Having a baby is an emotional experience without parallel.  For all the months of your pregnancy, you worked to keep your little one safe and healthy.  All of that hard work culminated on delivery day when you finally got to see your precious child. Sadly, for some, the joys of childbirth are tempered by an injured newborn.  While many medical professionals in Virginia call them “common,” it makes them no less frightening. 

Clavicle Injuries Most Common Among Newborns

Among the most common injuries is a newborn clavicle (also called a collarbone) fracture. This injury typically occurs during the more difficult or strenuous childbirths.  As the baby exits the birth canal, one or both shoulders can become stopped or “stuck” at the mother’s pubic bone. The physician applies force to remove the baby and, as he pulls, the force can break the clavicle. Doctors can use their own hands, forceps, or a vacuum to assist the baby through delivery. 

Signs and Symptoms of a Clavicle Fracture

If your baby has sustained this kind of injury, you may notice these signs and symptoms:

  • Refusal to move the injured arm. The baby will instead hold the arm against the side of their body.
  • The baby shows signs of pain if you lift him or her from under the arms.
  • A hard lump developing where the bone is healing.  This may take weeks to occur.

Identifying Injuries Early Can Prevent Further Complications

In some cases, the broken clavicle will heal itself, but often a doctor will want to temporarily immobilize the injured arm for the baby’s comfort.  However, if the injury is overlooked, a baby may not get the treatment needed to heal properly.  A severely injured collarbone that does not heal properly can lead to a number of problems:

  • Numbness or tingling in the shoulder, arm, or hand.
  • Pain or sensitivity in the shoulder area.
  • An arm that a baby will not use, leading to a delay in proper motor-skills (like hand/eye coordination).
  • Nerve damage.
  • A limited range of movement throughout the child’s life.
  • Additional surgeries may be necessary to correct an untreated broken clavicle that has healed incorrectly.

What is the Future of a Child with a Broken Collarbone?

There are numerous long-term concerns that come with a broken collarbone at birth. The good news is, healing often comes quickly with no long-term problems, as long as medical intervention takes place immediately. In some cases, a bump may remain over the region that was broken. Typically, the bump will slowly decrease.

While some call it “common,” a newborn collarbone injury is a serious matter.  Many times medical intervention is necessary to repair the damage.  Often, birth injuries are avoidable and are due to medical negligence during childbirth.

Contact a Virginia Birth Injury Lawyer

If you have questions about your child’s birth injury in Virginia, call the trusted attorneys at Shevlin Smith today at 703-721-4233 to schedule a free case evaluation.  We can help you through the recovery process. For additional information, download one of our free medical malpractice e-books filled with vital tips on pursuing a medical negligence claim.