There’s nothing more special in this world than our children, and few things are more frightening than having a child born with an injury. Injuries to a baby’s brachial plexus during birth are common, and they can have short-term effects, as well as complications that impact a child’s life well into the future. Brachial plexus injuries may be the result of medical malpractice, and in these cases, the innocent victims have the right to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.
No parent wants to deal with the legal system after their child was injured, but that is where the attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, come into play. Our New York birth injury attorneys will provide all the support your claim needs, from thoroughly investigating the negligent act that caused your child’s injury to advocating for the maximum compensation. Call us at (212) 986-7353 for a free case evaluation.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that run from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands. These nerves provide sensation throughout the shoulder and arm structure, as well as the ability to move. Newborn babies have naturally soft and sensitive bodies, and if the birthing process is managed incorrectly, this delicate bundle of nerves can be damaged.
Brachial plexus palsy is the common term used to describe injuries to the brachial plexus, and there are varying degrees of damage that may or may not heal. The most common form of brachial plexus palsy is called Erb’s palsy, which is a mild form of paralysis that often resolves over time with physical therapy and exercise. The varying degrees of injury include:
- Stretched or compressed nerves: The mildest form of brachial plexus injuries occur when the nerve bundle is compressed or stretched. A stretched or compressed brachial plexus can result in tingling, pain, stiffness, and a mild loss of motor control. Stretched or compressed nerves will heal over time, and physical therapy will often allow the child to regain full control with no residual symptoms.
- Torn or ruptured nerves: Torn or ruptured nerves can cause permanent damage, with extreme pain, disability, lack of feeling, and loss of motor control. These nerves may heal on their own or may require surgery, and the degree of healing and recovery varies on a case-by-case basis.
- Uprooted nerves: The most severe form of brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves are uprooted from the spine, which results in a full loss of feeling and movement (paralysis). Uprooted nerves can be treated with surgery with some limited improvement but often leads to lifetime disability.
Common symptoms of brachial plexus injuries may include:
- A burning feeling or “electric shock” sensation;
- Muscle weakness;
- Muscle atrophy;
- Full or partial paralysis or the shoulder, arm, and hands; and
- Severe pain.
While brachial plexus palsy can be the result of contact sports and other high-impact activities, they also occur during childbirth – sometimes due to a failure to provide the accepted standard of care during birth. Brachial plexus palsy is often caused by:
- The baby’s shoulder being lodged within the womb;
- Excessive pressure on the baby’s head;
- Incorrect use of forceps or other tools;
- Breech births; and
- A failure to perform a Caesarean section when the baby is in distress.
It is the responsibility of medical professionals to provide a specific level of care for both the baby and the mother during childbirth, and in cases in which the care did not meet the accepted standard, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit. Situations in which medical negligence causes brachial plexus palsy include:
- Failure to plan correctly for the birth of a large baby;
- Not noticing and acting on a compressed or entrapped umbilical cord;
- Failure to perform a Caesarean section in a timely manner;
- Failure to recognize conditions that indicate a high possibility of a difficult birth, such as obesity, diabetes, an abnormally shaped pelvis, and others;
- Misuse of medical tools, such as forceps, vacuums, and others; and
- Lack of care to manage the condition of the mother and the position of the baby.
While each case is unique and the potential ramifications of brachial plexus palsy can vary dramatically, the injured child may be eligible to receive compensation for:
- Medical costs for surgery or recovery;
- Physical therapy;
- Future loss of income (in cases where lifelong damage results); and
- Pain and suffering.
At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, our veteran birth injury attorneys have over 50 years of experience representing victims and their families, and we take each case seriously. We prepare everything as if the case is going to trial, and we relentlessly pursue the maximum compensation. Our attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, and we believe you deserve to be represented by an attorney with experience and a record of successful settlements and verdicts in birth injury cases. Schedule a free consultation today when you call us at (212) 986-7353.
WRSH Partner Philip Russotti obtained a $10 Million mediation settlement for failure to timely perform a Cesarean Section. The case was venued in Orange County, NY.
WRSH Partner, Phil Russotti, obtained a $6 million settlement for our client whose child suffered severe brain damage during birth.
We claimed that the baby should have been delivered by emergency C-Section or forceps delivery. He was ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriparesis.
Partner Philip Russotti argued that as a result of this negligence, the child suffered hypoxia which resulted in mild retardation, severe ADHD and social isolation as well as difficulties with fine motor skills.
WRSH obtained a $1,300,000 jury verdict, after a three week medical malpractice trial in Staten Island, on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who suffered a brachial plexus injury known as Erb's palsy.
We claimed that the hospital was negligent for not intervening and performing a cesarean section in light of the mother's failure to adequately progress in labor.