Types of brachial plexus injuries

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Statistically speaking, newborn children in New York will encounter brachial plexus injuries only rarely. However, when such birth injuries occur, they tend to fall into one of three types, which are stretch, rupture, and avulsion. These injuries are further designated by the site at which they occurred.

A stretch injury is the least serious. The nerves are pulled too far, often during the process of birth, and the sheath surrounding the nerve is strained. Stretch injuries often make a full recovery. A rupture is the second degree of severity. Nerves are torn and the nerve sheath is disrupted. Although the body will attempt to heal, there will be scarring and a loss of function.

The most serious form of injury is known as an avulsion. This occurs when nerves are pulled completely out by the root. There is no possibility of such nerve damage healing. The only circumstance known to cause an avulsion injury is an extremely strong force pulling on the brachial plexus.

Any birth injury will be a traumatic and deeply unsettling event for the family that experiences it, and the health and ability to thrive of the child may be negatively impacted for years. If such an injury is caused by the negligence of a medical professional, then the family has the right to expect full financial compensation for the harm that they and their infant have suffered. Filing a civil suit alleging medical malpractice will require the defendants to appear in court to answer the charges, unless they choose to settle the suit to the plaintiff’s satisfaction first. An attorney who has experience in medical malpractice litigation can assess a client’s particular set of circumstances.

Source: Birthinjury.org, “Types of Injuries“, November 06, 2014

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