klumpke’s palsy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report there are 3,952,841 babies born each year in the United States.  Approximately one in every 1,000 of these births result in an injury to a baby’s brachial plexus – a webbed network of five nerves located below the neck and above each shoulder.  The brachial plexus controls movement and the sense of touch in the fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders. A brachial plexus injury may be the result of a medical provider’s mistake.

If the baby weighs too much (macrosomia) or has shoulders too wide for the birth canal (feto-pelvic disproportion), the baby’s shoulder can get caught (shoulder dystocia) on the mother’s pelvic bone during vaginal birth. When this happens, the baby’s head presents but the baby’s body does not descend through the birth canal.  Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency that requires immediate, safe and appropriate procedures to gently free the baby’s shoulders and deliver the baby.  If the doctors, nurses or other medical providers apply too much pressure (e.g., fundal pressure or lateral pressure) and/or pulling (traction) to the baby’s head, neck, arm and shoulders during delivery, the baby can suffer a brachial plexus injury such as stretching, tearing, rupture or avulsion of one or more of the five nerves which form the brachial plexus.

Different than Erb’s Palsy, which affects the upper brachial plexus nerves (specifically C5, C6 and C7), Klumpke’s Palsy results from an injury to the two lowest brachial plexus nerves (C8 to T1), which are responsible for controlling movement of the hand and forearm muscles. Therefore, while Klumpke’s Palsy and Erb’s Palsy can be caused by the same type of medical mistake, they’re still two very different injuries.

Symptoms of Klumpke’s Palsy include:

  • Claw hand
  • Drop wrist
  • Paralysis in the forearm and hand
  • Numbness in the forearm and hand

Treatment is limited for this type of hand and forearm injury. Surgery is recommended for damaged nerves that are unable to heal on their own. Additionally, physical therapy will be required. The cost of care for a child with Klumpke’s palsy, or any birth injury, is very high. If your child’s injury was caused by a medical mistake, the experienced Birth Injury lawyers at The Yost Legal Group are here to help.

Call The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529) for a FREE, confidential, no-obligation consultation. When you call, you will speak with a Baltimore Birth Injury attorney with real experience absolutely free.

At The Yost Legal Group, you will never pay an attorney’s fee unless we achieve a recovery for you. We don’t get paid until you do.

Misuse of Pitocin Can Cause Birth Injury and Uterine Rupture

Not every woman’s labor is ideal. Some women need medication to help start (induce) labor or manage the length of time the woman is in labor. It is relatively common for pregnant women to be administered Pitocin (or its generic, oxytocin) to manage labor. Pitocin stimulates the uterus, helping to produce contractions. The problem is that Pitocin can take up to 40 minutes to fully kick in.

Contractions during labor occur in a “squeeze and release” pattern of uterine muscle tightening followed by uterine muscle relaxation. Ideally, Pitocin helps establish and maintain a healthy pattern of uterine contractions during labor but, if the wrong amount of Pitocin is delivered, or this medication is introduced too quickly, it can overstimulate the uterus and cause dangerous contractions harmful to both the baby and the mother.

If the mother is experiencing too many contractions or those contractions are too strong or last too long, the baby’s oxygen supply could be interrupted, causing fetal distress. If a shortage of oxygen (hypoxia) also causes the fetal heart rate to slow (ischemia) the infant has suffered a hypoxic-ischemic episode. If the oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s brain are interrupted during labor and delivery, even if the interruption is only for a short time, the baby may suffer a type of permanent brain damage called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE.

Hypoxic birth injuries can cause:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cognitive Disabilities
  • Severe Seizures
  • Behavioral Disorders

Less often, the over stimulation of the uterus with Pitocin, or Oxycontin, can cause a uterine rupture, endangering bot the mother and the baby and requiring emergency c-section to immediately deliver the baby and repair or remove (hysterectomy) the mother’s ruptured uterus.

Complications due to the administration of Pitocin during childbirth are the cause of preventable injury and death. Our experienced attorneys fight for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the negligence of others. If you would like to discuss a potential claim arising from a birth or birth-related injury, the attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination. For a free consultation, please call The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529.)

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