A brachial plexus injury during the birthing process involves the loss of movement of one or both of the arms. The injury occurs when the nerves surrounding the shoulder are damaged or stretched during the birthing process. The injury may be caused by:
- The infant's head and neck pulling toward the side as the shoulders pass through the birth canal
- Pulling on the infant's shoulders during a head-first delivery
- Pressure on the baby's raised arms during a breech (feet-first) delivery
When brachial plexus injuries are the result of medical malpractice, it is determined that the medical staff failed or was negligent in providing or adhering to an acceptable standard of care. Some of the medical errors that lead to brachial plexus injuries include failure to prevent shoulder lodging, excessive pressure on the infant's head, the improper use of forceps or vacuums, or breech births.
In some instances, medical malpractice results in a physician's failure to opt for a caesarean section delivery.
Birth injuries are tragic and when they are caused by medical errors that should be foreseeable and preventable they may be medical malpractice.
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