Jenna had a normal pregnancy by all the standards of medicine. In her seventh month, she was told that her baby was measuring a week ahead of her scheduled due date. By her ninth month, she was told she might have a larger-than-average baby. Jenna voiced her concern about having a large baby because she was only five feet tall and weighed 100 pounds before she got pregnant. Her doctor assured her that if the baby was too large to deliver, he would re-evaluate during the delivery process.
One week past her due date, Jenna went in to labor, and after only four hours was ready to start pushing. However, after two hours of pushing, the doctor told her that the baby was “stuck” in the birth canal on her pubic bone. She watched as the doctor exerted great force on her baby’s head to get his shoulders to come out. She was greatly relieved when her son was finally delivered and in her arms. His cries were even sweet to her ears. However, Jenna quickly realized that something was wrong with her newborn son. He appeared perfect in every way, except he wouldn’t move his left arm. Each time she moved it for him, he cried in pain. Those cries were not so sweet to hear. Jenna soon discovered that her son had suffered a Brachial Plexus injury during delivery and would need surgery to help correct it.
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that runs from the spine to the neck and shoulder and controls arm movement. During delivery, the pulling motion when a shoulder is stuck can cause a brachial plexus injury.
In Virginia, many brachial plexus injuries require medical intervention of some sort so patients can regain muscle control. Diagnosis of the specific type of injury can be complicated, as well as which treatment options should be considered. Here is what you can expect if your child has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury:
- The child’s arm may need to be immobilized to lessen the pain from the injury. Pinning the child’s sleeve to the chest of an outfit can accomplish this. A wrist brace may also be used.
- Physical therapy can help increase the range of motion after healing has occurred.
- If the nerves are actually severed, surgery will usually be performed once the infant has reached four months of age.
- Parents should learn how to properly dress, bathe, and hold a child with a brachial plexus injury to avoid excessive pain.
Contact a Virginia birth injury lawyer if your child suffered a brachial plexus injury at the hands of a medical professional. You may be entitled to compensation that can help cover the costs of physical therapy or surgery.
The birth injury attorneys at Shevlin Smith have the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for you and your child. Contact us today to discuss your options. Call 703.591.0067, or complete the form at the top of this page.