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Why you shouldn't overlook your baby's brachial plexus injury

Every human has a series of nerves that runs throught their bodies. The ones that join together around the shoulder area are called the brachial plexus ones.

If this grouping of nerves is either damaged via an injury, it's possible that individuals will experience a weakening or decreased movement in their shoulders or upper arms. In more rare cases, babies will be diagnosed with Klumke paralysis. In cases in which they are, their hand and lower arm may also be affected.

While brachial plexus injuries can occur a number of different ways, including during falls or car crashes, another common instance in which they happen is in the midst of childbirth. The number of babies who suffer birth injuries resulting in neonatal brachial plexus palsy each year shows the condition is far from rare.

Among those babies who suffer brachial plexus injuries during childbirth, they often do so because their necks and heads are pulled sideways as doctors attempt to deliver them via a mother's birth canal. In other cases, a baby's grouping of nerves in the shoulder area are overstretched during a standard vaginal delivery.

When a baby is born breech, they're at particularly high risk for suffering a brachial plexus injury because of increased pressure placed on the shoulder region. Babies born feet-first like this are often born with their arms raised above their heads.

Another risk factor that can result in a newborn's brachial plexus injury include the baby being born abnormally larger than most. Babies born to diabetic mothers are often above-average in size.

If any difficulties are encountered in delivering the baby, such as his or her shoulder becoming dislodged behind the pelvic bone, then this can result in a condition known as shoulder dystocia.

Some babies will regain strength and movement in their shoulder and arm on the side where the brachial plexus injury occurred with time. Others may require surgical interventions to repair their damaged nerves. In some cases though, long term occupational therapy may be needed for the child to regain any functionality at all.

If your baby has suffered a brachial plexus injury at the hands of a negligent medical staff, a Tucson birth injury attorney can advise you of your right to file a claim for reimbursement of medical expenses.