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Everything you need to know about brachial plexus birth injuries

Everyone’s body contains the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that communicates between the spine, shoulders and hands. When this network sustains injury, intense pain, lack of mobility and possible paralysis are common symptoms.

Infants during delivery are in greater danger of injuring the brachial plexus, especially when medical professionals make careless mistakes. What types of injuries can the brachial plexus sustain? What do you do if a medical professional has caused injury to your newborn?

Erb’s palsy

During difficult delivery, a doctor may pull or tug on a newborn, which can result in this type of brachial plexus injury. When this occurs, newborns face damage to the nerves in the neck and arm, caused by a rupture in the nerves, which affects the mobility of the affected area. Depending on the severity, a child may need therapy or surgery in order to fix the immobility, but it can be a lengthy as well as expensive process.

Klumpke’s palsy

This type of brachial plexus injury is similar to Erb’s palsy, but instead of affecting the upper section of the brachial plexus, it can cause damage to the lower. When medical professionals pull too hard on the arm of a baby during delivery, they can do damage to the child’s lower brachial plexus. Often, this can cause pain and lack of mobility in the affected area.


Neurapraxia refers to damage of the nerves in the body and can be caused by negligent treatment of the child during his or her birth. This is a less severe form of Erb’s or Klumpke’s palsy, not rupturing but only stretching the nerves, but can still call for weeks or months of treatment.

What action can you take?

If a doctor caused the injury to your infant’s brachial plexus, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages. This compensation can aid in the pain and suffering of watching your newborn go through injury, as well as medical costs and lost wages.

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