Pittsburgh Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyers
A Family-Owned Firm Protecting the Rights of Pittsburgh Families
Although childbirth is a momentous event typically associated with good fortune and happiness, sometimes tragedy can touch the birth of a child, such as through a brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is the bundle of nerves that runs from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. When damaged — such as by stretching, compressing, ripping, or tearing — the unfortunate result may be a severe injury or even lifelong disability.
Although brachial plexus injuries are sometimes unavoidable, they can occur because of malpractice on the part of the attending health care professionals. However, it may be difficult for the average person to determine whether malpractice took place, as doctors are often reluctant to admit to any wrongdoing on their part.
If your child has suffered a brachial plexus injury and you have good reason to suspect the attending medical professional acted negligently, we recommend that you contact our Pittsburgh lawyers at Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. as soon as possible. We will be able to utilize our previous experience with these cases to investigate what happened and determine whether someone is to blame for the brachial plexus injury; if so, you could qualify to pursue justice through a legal claim.
Schedule a free consultation with a Pittsburgh brachial plexus injury attorney by filling out an online form or calling us at (844) 383-0565.
Common Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries affect about two to three out of every thousand babies delivered through live birth. There are many acts of medical malpracticethat could lead a child’s brachial plexus to experience trauma, including but not limited to the following:
- Failed to prevent or remedy shoulder lodging: Sometimes, the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone in a condition that is often referred to as “shoulder dystocia.” When this occurs, the delivery team must attempt to free the shoulder quickly. Sadly, some teams fail, and the shoulder becomes lodged. If this happens and the delivery team pulls on the child to get them out of the birth canal, the brachial plexus will likely be injured since it is securely lodged behind the pelvic bone.
- Misused extractor vacuums or forceps: When the child is having a hard time passing through the birth canal, the delivery team may utilize a vacuum extractor or forceps to help them move along the canal. If they use either of these methods for too long or use both methods during one live birth, the baby is likely to be injured.
- Failed to identify and address a breech birth: In the case of a breech birth (when the child is positioned to come through the birth canal feet first), extra stress will be put on the child’s shoulders and brachial plexus if the attending medical professional does not guide the baby to come headfirst through the birth canal.
- Allowed labor to go on for too long: Prolonged labor is not only unpleasant for the mother but can also cause a brachial plexus injury to the baby. If the baby is made to undergo too many contractions, undue stress will be placed on the baby’s shoulders and arms. The delivery team should be aware of this and monitor a mother’s labor to ensure it does not go on for an extended period of time; failure to do so endangers the mother and the baby alike.
What Are the Symptoms of a Brachial Plexus Injury?
Injuries to the brachial plexus during birth can result in the baby exhibiting an apparent numbness in the affected arm, a partial or complete lack of arm movement, and/or an irregular arm, wrist, or hand position, such as a limp or hanging arm or a claw-like hand.
A specialist will need to confirm whether a brachial plexus injury was sustained by ordering X-rays, CT or CAT scans, MRIs, and/or by testing the child’s reflexes. It is important to consult a specialist regarding any suspected injury and, if a diagnosis is given, start on treatment immediately.
How Long Does It Take for a Brachial Plexus Injury to Heal?
The recovery period for these injuries depends on how severely the brachial plexus was affected. If it was only stretched, then the baby should recover in a few months on their own or through daily physical therapy. Often, parents are required to gently massage the affected arm to help the baby heal.
If the brachial plexus was torn or ripped completely, surgery will be required for any chance of recovery, which could take more than 18 months. Unfortunately, some children do not recover from severe brachial plexus injuries; these children may later develop lifelong conditions, such as brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy. At this point, treatment will pivot to focus on helping the child and their parents adapt to life with their condition.
Filing a Brachial Plexus Injury Claim in Pittsburgh
At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., we understand that nothing can make up for the injury done to your child, but a legal claim can help you afford the treatment your child needs and deserves without having to compromise or go into debt. To work with attorneys who truly care about you and your case, hire Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. Our award-winning, family-owned firm is home to attorneys passionate about protecting the rights of injured children and their families by fighting for accountability from those who harmed them.
Don’t wait to get started on your claim; contact Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. online. Our Pittsburgh brachial plexus injury lawyers are also available to take your call at (844) 383-0565.