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The long-term effects of brachial plexus birth injuries

Having a child is one of the most incredible, life-changing experiences a mother can have. However, as exciting as this event is, labor and delivery can also be very frightening and stressful.

The reality is that complications do happen during childbirth. And these complications can lead to serious birth injuries that can affect a child long after birth. One such injury is a brachial plexus injury.

What is a brachial plexus injury?

These injuries occur when nerves fibers in the arms and hands suffer damage. In the context of childbirth, these injuries can happen during particularly difficult deliveries where there is excessive force involved. They can also occur when doctors use devices like vacuums or forceps to assist in the delivery.

In some cases, the health of the mother could contribute to a brachial plexus injury. This could be the case for mothers with diabetes. Fetal position and size could also cause a brachial plexus injury.

What are the long-term effects of these injuries?

There are several different types of brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s palsy. Generally speaking, these injuries lead to temporary or permanent loss of mobility and sensation in child’s fingers, hands and arms.

A recent study also suggests that a brachial plexus injury could contribute to a higher rate of mental illness later in a child’s life.

The study, which is discussed in more detail in this article, found that 1,600 out of 600,000 Swedish teenagers with a brachial plexus injury suffer from mental health issues for which they are taking medication. Children from low-income families are at an even higher risk.

Taking all effects of a birth injury into account

Understanding all the ways that a birth injury can affect a child’s life can be crucial in cases where the birth injury is the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit, as it could affect the damages that may be available. Therefore, it can be important to discuss with an attorney all the ways in which a birth injury has affected – and will affect – a child.