Birth injuries are a result of medical negligence that occurs during the labor and delivery process. These injuries can result in permanent disabilities, developmental delays, and learning difficulties for your child. Often, birth injuries require lifelong care, rehabilitation, and specialized resources to help these children improve their lives and capability. Stanford University defines a birth injury as damage or injury to the child before, during, or just after the birthing process. Occasionally during the birth process, the baby may suffer a physical injury that is simply the result of being born. It is important to note that birth injuries are not the same as birth defects, which can be due to genetic faults during pregnancy or inherited from the parents. There are several different types of birth injuries and it’s important to know the details of the one you are wanting to file a legal claim for.
The brachial plexus is a network of five nerves that carry signals from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands. A brachial injury can result from excessive pressure or stretching of these nerves, especially during prolonged or difficult labor. When a newborn sustains a serious brachial plexus injury during their delivery, the injury could have a long-term or permanent impact on their life.
Sometimes these injuries are the result of medical malpractice, such as when a medical professional takes inappropriate actions or fails to take reasonable measures that would have prevented the injury during labor. If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury as a result of possible medical malpractice, a knowledgeable birth injury attorney can help you identify the cause of the injury and seek compensation.
Types of Brachial Plexus Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries, which range from minor strains to severe nerve trauma, are classified according to the extent of the resulting nerve damage. The main types of brachial plexus injury include:
When a brachial plexus injury causes weakness in the shoulder and elbow, the resulting condition is known as Erb’s palsy. When the hand and wrist are weakened by a brachial plexus injury, however, patients develop a condition called Klumpke palsy.
What Type of Compensation Can You Recover From a Brachial Plexus Lawsuit?
If you suspect that your child may have suffered a brachial plexus injury due to the negligence of your healthcare provider, you have the pursue compensation to cover your losses. A successful claim for brachial plexus injury compensation can help you recover injury-related expenses such as:
- Corrective surgeries that attempt to repair the brachial plexus
- Ongoing costs of physical therapy, medication, or rehabilitation
- Assistive aids or mobility devices, such as braces or slings
- Home accessibility modifications
- Educational programs
- Mental and emotional therapy
- Subjective costs of physical emotional pain and suffering
- Lost wages, if parents are forced to miss work to care for their children
Jaundice and Kernicterus
One of the most common conditions that newborn babies suffer is jaundice. However, when jaundice isn’t carefully monitored and treated, it can lead to a type of brain damage called kernicterus. The development of kernicterus is painfully frustrating since, in most cases, it can be prevented with proper medical attention. A child who develops kernicterus may require care for the rest of their life.
What Causes Kernicterus?
If a newborn is unable to effectively process the bilirubin in their body and the jaundice is left untreated, the bilirubin can build up to such a degree that it leaks out of the blood and into the tissues of the brain, leading to a type of brain damage known as kernicterus.
If a newborn has high levels of bilirubin and isn’t treated quickly, it could lead to kernicterus, which could result in hearing loss, involuntary movements, intellectual disabilities, or even death.
Kernicterus usually occurs within the first week or so of a newborn’s life. Kernicterus symptoms may include:
- Extreme jaundice
- Excessive fatigue
- Low muscle tone
- Lack of startle reflex
- High-pitched crying
- Poor feeding
- Arching of the head and back
If your child has suffered from kernicterus, you deserve justice for what happened and to have those responsible compensate you for your losses. But to do that, you’ll want help from a driven, experienced medical malpractice team. Here are a few ways Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., can help you:
- Identifying the party responsible for your child’s injuries, as well as all your losses for which you deserve compensation
- Gathering evidence to support your claim, such as your child’s medical records and testimony from medical experts
- Helping you find the right doctors to get your child the treatment they need
- Taking care of all communication and settlement negotiations with the defendants in your claim
- Preparing your case for trial and bringing it to court, should a trial become necessary.
While we’ll aggressively and skillfully pursue a fair settlement, our firm is not afraid to bring your case to court. From day one, we’ll prepare as if we’re headed for trial, even while pursuing aggressive settlement negotiations.
Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that can lead to permanent harm and disability in newborns.
Many birth injuries are the result of a medical provider or hospital malpractice. If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you believe their condition was caused by medical malpractice, do not hesitate to reach out for help.
The relentless medical malpractice lawyers at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in rightful compensation for families throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Some of our most notable birth injury verdicts include:
- $8.9 million in compensation for an infant who sustained permanent brain damage due to negligent fetal heart rate monitoring during labor
- $4.5 million on behalf of a newborn who suffered serious injury as a result of uterine rupture from a negligently delayed Caesarean section
Pursuing Compensation for Erb’s Palsy Injury
In most cases, Erb’s palsy can be prevented by proper prenatal healthcare for mothers and advanced planning, especially for larger-than-average or incorrectly positioned babies. If doctors, nurses, or midwives neglect to provide adequate care of this kind, engage in the improper use of birthing tools, or use improper birthing techniques, they may be found responsible for medical malpractice.
If you suspect that your child sustained brachial plexus injuries and developed Erb’s palsy as a result of medical malpractice, an experienced birth injury lawyer can help you pursue financial compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to immediate treatment of injuries
- Future costs of anticipated medical treatments and services, such as physical rehabilitation, psychological therapy, home accessibility modifications, and full- or part-time caregiving
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life for infants disabled by Erb’s palsy
- Non-physical losses related to pain, suffering, and mental or emotional anguish
Pennsylvania imposes a two-year time limit on your ability to file medical malpractice lawsuits in court, so it’s best to act quickly if you believe you have a viable Erb’s palsy claim. Courts typically dismiss cases that are filed after the statute of limitations has expired.
Hypoxia/Anoxic Brain Injuries
Many people assume that the majority of brain injuries are caused by blunt force or trauma from an external factor. However, many long-lasting injuries are the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. If your brain has not received oxygen for a significant period of time, then both cognitive and physical impairments can occur. These impairments are typically the result of a partial lack of oxygen (hypoxic) or a total lack of oxygen (anoxic). A hypoxic-anoxic injury (HAI) can be caused by the inhalation of dangerous fumes, a stroke or even an electrical shock. Complications during childbirth can also result in a baby suffering a hypoxic-anoxic injury. The newborn will face a lifetime of difficulty because of impairments or disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. After suffering a brain injury, our attorneys will help you determine if a negligent party contributed to your current condition.
At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we have experience handling a variety of brain injury cases. Our attorneys and experts can differentiate between the inherent risk of medical procedures and negligent conduct. You may suffer a hypoxic-anoxic injury and suspect that medical malpractice played a significant role. We will investigate the medical care and determine whether medical malpractice caused your injury. It is important to know that our attorneys will stand up for you when difficult moments arise. We will give you the legal guidance you and your family need after you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury. Our Philadelphia brain injury attorneys will do everything we can to help you obtain the best possible legal outcome.