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Learning more about another birth injury, brachial plexus

The birth of a baby is usually a happy time for Maryland parents. Sometimes, however, labor and delivery may experience complications and produce risks that can harm the infant. For example, babies can experience birth injuries that lead to defects such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and other injuries and medical errors can be the cause of brachial plexus injury in newborns as well. There is a chance that medical labor errors committed during birth caused these defects.

Brachial plexus is an injury that is associated with loss of movement of the arm. Brachial plexus happens when the collection of nerves around the infant's shoulder are damaged during the birth process. Parents can easily see the symptoms of brachial plexus after birth. Decreased grip on the affected arm, loss of movement in the baby's upper or lower arm or hand and bent elbow are among the symptoms. To determine if this loss of movement is really a brachial plexus, the newborn undergoes a physical examination to show whether the infant's upper or lower arm can move.

Brachial plexus injury in newborns has different causes. This type of birth injury may arise when the mother is having difficulty delivering the baby due to the baby's size. Pulling the baby's shoulder during a head-first delivery may damage the nerves. The same injury may happen when too much pressure is placed on the baby's raised arms during breech delivery. Pulling the newborn's head and neck while the baby is passing through the birth canal can result in brachial plexus injury as well.

Any form of birth injury is devastating for parents and the newborn. An injury means extensive medical care for the newborn until the baby completely recovers. If the birth injury results from errors made by medical staff during labor, doctors, staff and even hospitals are likely to be found liable for their medical mistake.

Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Brachial plexus injury in newborns," Accessed on Dec. 29, 2014

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