Brachial Plexus Palsy2019-04-08T06:00:16+00:00

Brachial plexus palsy is a type of condition in which the sufferer’s arm is paralyzed due to damage to the muscles that control the arm. It is not one specific condition, but a collection of similar conditions affecting the brachial plexus, a set of nerves in the shoulder and upper arm that control all arm functions.

A baby can suffer brachial plexus palsy as the result of physician error during birth. Maternal diabetes, high birth weight, breech births, and complex births that require external aid all increase a newborn’s risk of suffering a brachial plexus injury. When a physician fails to acknowledge one or more of these issues and adapt a mother’s birth procedure to account for them, the physician may be deemed negligent and thus liable for the injuries the baby suffers due to his or her malpractice. Parents whose children are injured due to physician malpractice may pursue compensation for their related damages through birth injury claims.

Understanding Brachial Plexus Palsy

The term “palsy” refers to paralysis. Brachial plexus palsies include multiple types of specific injury, like Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy.

Errors during labor and birth are not the only issues that can cause brachial plexus injuries. In older children and adults, injuries sustained during contact sports and accidents like car crashes can injure the brachial plexus.

Symptoms of Brachial Plexus Palsy

Signs that a child could be suffering from a brachial plexus injury include:

  • Weakness in the affected arm;
  • A complete lack of movement in the shoulder and the arm;
  • Partial paralysis in the affected arm;
  • Impaired motor skills in the affected arm; and
  • The affected arm hanging limp or being bent toward the body.

Other symptoms of a brachial plexus injury include numbness in the arm or pain and tingling. But a young baby can not vocalize that he or she is experiencing these sensations, so parents and pediatricians need to rely on the other symptoms listed here to determine whether a child could be suffering from this type of injury.

Birth Injuries that can Result in Brachial Plexus Palsy

When the brachial plexus is stretched and damaged during birth, a child can suffer a brachial plexus injury. This can happen when an infant’s shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal or against the mother’s pelvis during birth. Complex births, such as those in which the infant has a high birth weight, increase a child’s risk of suffering a brachial plexus injury.

Errors during labor and birth are not the only issues that can cause brachial plexus injuries. In older children and adults, injuries sustained during contact sports and accidents like car crashes can injure the brachial plexus.

Treatment for Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial plexus injuries are not permanent. An infant suffering from brachial plexus palsy often requires surgical treatment as well as physical and occupational therapy afterward to regain use, strength, and range of motion in the affected arm. This therapy may include electrical stimulation, joint mobilization, range of motion exercises, and Kinesio taping.

The treatments an infant requires to correct his or her brachial plexus palsy can be complex and cause a parent to lose a substantial amount of money due to taking time off work to supervise his or her recovery. Additionally, the parent will need to support the child’s recovery and management of the injury for years to come following birth. This involves facilitating exercises that keep the child’s muscles and joints in working order.

Pursuing Compensation for your Brachial Plexus Palsy Damages

Your child – and you – can face significant damages due to a preventable injury. When your child’s injury was the result of a doctor’s negligence before or during birth, you could be entitled to recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost income;
  • Reduced quality of life;
  • Disfigurement; and
  • Pain and suffering.

Your lawyer can help you develop a solid claim that clearly demonstrates how your child’s injury was the direct result of a doctor’s error. You can not simply claim that your child was injured because a physician or another healthcare provider acted negligently; you must prove it through sufficient evidence like copies of your child’s medical records and documentation showing that the healthcare provider knew or should have known that your child was at risk of being injured when he or she took the action that ultimately resulted in the injury.

In Ontario, the statute of limitations for birth injury claims like those for brachial plexus palsy is the same as it is for other injury claims — two years from the date that the claimant knew, or reasonably should have known, that the injury resulted from negligence and that taking legal action to pursue compensation is a viable course of action. However, because the victim is a minor child in this type of claim, this two-year limit does not actually begin to toll until one of the following circumstances is met:

  • The child turns 18;
  • A litigation guardian is appointed for the child; or
  • If the child’s disability prevents him or her from being capable of filing such a claim after he or she turns 18, the statute of limitations begins when the child’s disability is resolved.

Although you can file a birth injury claim on your own, working with an experienced birth injury lawyer will increase your chance of recovering an appropriate settlement and make the process less stressful for you.

Work with an Experienced Toronto Birth Injury Lawyer

If your child is suffering from brachial plexus palsy because of a doctor’s errors, you can potentially recover financial compensation for your related losses through a birth injury lawsuit. To learn more about the legal process for pursuing this type of compensation and your rights as a parent of a child injured at birth, contact our team of experienced Toronto birth injury lawyers at Preszler Law Firm today to set up your free legal consultation.

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