We often think of childbirth as a miracle. While this is true, it is also extremely dangerous. When complications arise, newborns might be seriously injured.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the upper arm, shoulder, and neck that provide feeling and muscle control to those areas. When a newborn or unborn child experiences a brachial plexus injury, they may have lifelong injuries or disabilities. Possible brachial plexus injuries include limited movement or even total paralysis of the affected areas, weakness, numbness, and pain, among other symptoms. If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury during childbirth, you might be able to sue the doctor and hospital that delivered your baby. It is important to explore your legal options as soon as possible, as your child might have lifelong injuries.
When doctors are negligent during something as important as childbirth, serious injuries might occur. Our Baltimore birth injury lawyers can help you sue those responsible for your child’s injuries. For a free case evaluation, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.
What is a Brachial Plexus Injury from Childbirth in Maryland?
As mentioned before, the brachial plexus is a nerve network in your upper shoulder and neck. The nerve network is rooted in the spinal cord in the neck and extends all the way down to the armpit. If the brachial plexus nerve network is damaged during childbirth, nerves might stretch or tear, causing severe injuries to your child.
Brachial plexus injuries might happen in several different ways. In some cases, a pre-birth injury is the cause of the brachial plexus injuries. For example, a pregnant person in a car accident might give birth to a child with brachial plexus injuries. It is also possible that the injuries happen during the birthing process and are caused by a doctor’s negligence.
A brachial plexus injury might leave your child with limited mobility in their arm, hands, and fingers. A weakened grip or difficulty moving might be a sign of a brachial plexus injury. In severe cases, full paralysis of the affected limb might occur. Our Maryland birth injury attorneys can help you explore your legal options if your child experienced a brachial plexus injury. These injuries are often lifelong and require very expensive medical treatment.
Possible Causes of Brachial Plexus Injuries from Childbirth in Maryland
There are multiple possible ways in which a child might experience a brachial plexus injury. Injuries often occur during birth because of a doctor’s negligence in the delivery room. It is important to determine how your child was injured because this may determine their overall prognosis. Speak to our Maryland birth injury lawyers about your child as soon as possible to begin exploring legal options.
A brachial plexus injury can occur during childbirth if the nerves are stretched and damaged. This is sometimes seen in breech deliveries where the baby is delivered feet-first. If the child’s body is moved one way or another before their head is out, their brachial plexus nerves might be stretched and damaged.
This is one of the most common brachial plexus injuries. Fortunately, some newborns are able to fully recover within a few months. However, not all babies are so lucky. If the nerve is permanently damaged, your child might experience problems like limited mobility or weakness for the rest of their life.
A rupture occurs when the nerves are torn. A rupture does not occur where the nerve attaches to the spine but somewhere else within the brachial plexus nerve network. This is also a relatively common brachial plexus injury, and recovery is possible. Recovery typically requires surgical intervention, which is very expensive and presents many possible complications. Our Towson personal injury lawyers can help you get compensation from the negligent hospital and doctor to pay for your child’s future medical needs.
An avulsion is similar to a ruptured nerve, but the avulsion occurs at the roots of the nerve, where it attaches to the spine. This is more severe and less common than other brachial plexus injuries, but it is still very possible and can leave lifelong injuries.
An avulsion cannot be surgically repaired. Instead, doctors may try to graft nerves or muscle tissue from other areas of the body to the affected areas. There is no guaranteed outcome of grafting, and your child might still be left with permanent injuries and scarring. Avulsions are also associated with more severe medical conditions, like Horner’s Syndrome, which affects the eyes and face.
Legal Options for Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries in Maryland
If your child experienced a brachial plexus injury during birth, you might be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and hospital responsible for the injuries. Before beginning a medical malpractice lawsuit, it is important to take note of the various laws and rules surrounding this kind of case. Our Maryland personal injury lawyers have experience in this field and can help you navigate the complex legal processes.
The statute of limitations for lawsuits against health care providers can be found under Md. Code Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-109(a) and provides 5 years from the date of the injury or 3 years from the date the injury was discovered. If these deadlines expire before you file your lawsuit, you might lose your right to sue.
The next section of the statute applies to claimants younger than 11 years old when the injuries occurred. The law states that the statute of limitations commences when the claimant turns 11. However, the Maryland Appellate Court ruled in 2002 that the statute of limitations for children should not commence until they’re turning turn 18.
To start a medical malpractice case, you need a certificate of a qualified expert. Under Md. Code Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-2A-04(b), you must have a qualified expert review your case and attest that the doctor deviated from standards of care. If this certificate is not filed, your case might be dismissed, and you will have to file all over again.
Call Our Maryland Birth Injury Attorneys for Help
If you have noticed symptoms like muscle weakness or paralysis in your child’s arms and upper body, they might have suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth. Our Baltimore personal injury attorneys can help you get justice and compensation for your child. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras for a free case review at (410) 694-7291.