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Indiana Personal Injury Attorneys Blog
Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Brachial Plexus Injuries -- Excessive Force Used During Delivery

Delivering a baby can be a physically difficult and traumatic experience, both for mother and newborn. Most women choose to deliver their babies in hospitals, due to the availability of drugs, medical equipment, and emergency care should something go wrong. When a woman delivers in a hospital, she rightfully expects that the physicians and hospital staff assisting in the delivery do their jobs in a way as to not injure either the woman herself or her newborn.

A common type of injury is when a newborn suffers a brachial plexus injury, which can result in serious complications. Under Indiana law, medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care to protect them from avoidable injury and to conduct themselves with the standards expected of the profession. If you or a loved one has been injured in a delivery accident, you may be able to bring an action under Indiana’s medical malpractice statute. In order to determine whether you have a claim, you should consult with an experienced Indiana birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

There are many ways a newborn could be injured during delivery, ranging from natural complications such as a prolapsed umbilical cord to human error, such as the improper use of forceps. Of particular concern is when a newborn suffers a brachial plexus injury during the delivery process. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that start near the neck and shoulder, and are responsible for the functioning of the upper limbs. When brachial plexus injuries occur during birth it can cause a number of complications, such as:

  • Partial paralysis
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Weakness in the arm
  • Numbness in the affected limb

There are many things that may cause a brachial plexus injury during labor. One common cause is when the baby becomes stuck during delivery and a medical professional applies too much pressure with forceps while trying to dislodge the baby. The injuries to the brachial plexus can range from minor injury that resolves on its own to more serious problems that may require invasive procedures to correct. In addition, these injuries may cause permanent disability that may reduce a person’s quality of life, ability to earn a living, require ongoing medical treatment, and additional medical expense.

One specific condition that is known to result in brachial plexus injury is that of shoulder dystocia, which occurs when a newborn’s shoulder becomes stuck below the mother’s pubic symphysis. This condition is considered an obstetric emergency, and often requires significant manipulation of the baby to correct. When a physician or other delivery professional applies too much force, a brachial plexus injury may occur.

If your child suffered a brachial plexus injury during delivery you may have grounds to recover through a Indiana medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to recover, you need to be able to show that the physician or other medical professional assisting in your delivery was negligent, and that negligence caused the injury. Because of the specialized medical issues that arise in such cases, it is important to retain the services of an Indianapolis personal injury attorney that is experienced in handling birth injury cases.

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