Klumpke’s Palsy Birth Injury Cases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly four million infants are born each year in the United States.
Of those four million infants, approximately 28,000 are born with severe birth injuries.
Unlike birth defects, which occur during fetal development, birth injuries are traumas that happen during the labor and delivery process. Many are the result of medical negligence or malpractice.
Klumpke’s palsy is a relatively common type of birth injury that can have long-term, negative consequences. Parents of infants diagnosed with Klumpke’s palsy birth injuries may be entitled to compensation for related damages and losses.
Is your baby suffering from this condition? Here’s what you need to know before taking legal action.
What Is Klumpke’s Palsy?
Also known as Klumpke’s paralysis or Dejerine-Klumpke palsy, Klumpke’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury that affects infants who experienced a difficult birth. The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves that relay signals between the back of the neck, armpits, upper limbs, and the brain. Infants suffering from Klumpke’s palsy often have damage to the lowest of these five nerves: the first thoracic nerve (T1) and the eighth cervical nerve (C8). This causes myriad concerning symptoms, including:
- Severe pain
- A limp or paralyzed arm, often with a “claw hand” due to the tightening of muscles in the wrist and fingers
- Weakness or inability to use the muscles in the hand, shoulder, or arm
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle atrophy
- Lack of feeling or sensation in the affected body parts
- Drooping eyelid on the opposite side of the face—a related condition known as Horner’s syndrome
Types of Klumpke’s Palsy Brachial Plexus Injuries
Klumpke’s palsy brachial plexus injuries are divided into four types. They range in severity, but all have the potential to result in nerve sensitivity or paralysis.
- Avulsion describes Klumpke’s palsy brachial plexus injuries in which the T1 and/or C8 nerves are completely severed from the spine.
- Ruptures are injuries in which there’s the presence of torn nerves, but not necessarily at the spine.
- Neroma is a term for injured brachial plexus nerves that healed but are still unable to transmit signals due to the application of pressure from scar tissue.
- Neuropraxia are brachial plexus injuries where the nerves have stretched or sustained damage, but remain intact.
Avulsions, the most severe form of brachial plexus injury, often cause devastating impairments that last throughout the victim’s lifetime.
What Causes Klumpke’s Palsy Birth Injuries?
According to the National Institutes of Health, Klumpke’s palsy brachial plexus injuries are the result of difficult vaginal births—often when the mother’s pelvis is small, but her baby is large. This requires a doctor to extract the baby manually, or using labor and delivery tools like forceps and vacuum extractors. If this extraction is performed carelessly or the doctor pulls the baby from the birth canal with its arms extended above its head, brachial plexus injuries like Klumpke’s palsy may happen.
Sometimes it’s challenging for parents to tell whether their infant’s injury was caused by medical malpractice or is simply an example of a poor health outcome. That’s why it’s crucial for parents whose children sustained injuries during the birthing process to consult an attorney about their rights.
Consult a Skilled Attorney About Your Child’s Klumpke’s Palsy Birth Injury
Having your baby diagnosed with a serious birth injury can be a frightening experience. If you believe it’s the result of medical negligence, contact the Accident and Injury Law Group as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
Our skilled attorneys can investigate your case, help you understand your rights and options, and fight for the compensation your family needs and deserves.