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Injuries To Babies

Injuries to Babies

Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erbs Palsy & Klumpke’s Palsy Claims)

Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injury (OBPI) arises when the shoulder of your baby becomes arrested behind your pubic bone (shoulder dystocia) once the baby's head has been delivered in a vaginal delivery and where the medical professional eg obstetrician or midwife has failed to follow accepted and acceptable steps and procedures in force on the date of the injury.

An OBPI can also occur during a vaginal breech delivery and during caesarean section, although these instances are less frequent. Shoulder dystocia occurs in approximately 0.5% births.

The Brachial Plexus

The Brachial Plexus consists of nerves from Cervical nerve 5 (C5) to Thoracic Nerve 1 (T1). They supply the muscles of the arm and are responsible for movement and sensation.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

An Erbs Palsy affects nerves arising from C5 & 6 (and sometimes C7). It affects the upper and lower arm.

What is Klumpke’s Palsy?

It results in deficits at levels C8 to T1. It is characterised by a claw shaped hand where the fingers are constantly turned inward. There is paralysis of the hand, wrist and finger flexors. The infant may also have an eyelid droop on the opposite side.

A total OBPI affects nerves at all levels (C5 – T1).

Many cases of OBPI are transient with the infant recovering full function within weeks or months of birth but a small percentage of children will continue to have a life-long and permanent disability, which may be treated with non-surgical or surgical treatments.

What causes an OBPI?

The injury may be caused by inadequate antenatal and intrapartum care and/or inappropriate delivery techniques. For example there may have been a failure to:

  • Recognise the risk factors associated with a shoulder dystocia and, as a consequence, failing to take appropriate action during the antenatal period
  • Adequately monitor a diabetic mother or a mother who develops gestational diabetes during pregnancy and the growth of her developing baby
  • Adequately warn a pregnant mother whose baby is known to be large in the womb and likely to weigh more than 4.5 Kg at birth of the risk of shoulder dystocia and OBPI and as a consequence failing to advise on appropriate modes of delivery to enable you as the mother to make an informed decision on delivery
  • To recognise that the delivery was complicated by a shoulder dystocia and as a consequence applied damaging traction on the baby's head when the shoulder is arrested behind the pubic bone
  • To follow the universally accepted and acceptable steps and procedures in force on the date of delivery to overcome a shoulder dystocia

Why a Solicitor could help you and your child

Whilst there is no cure for an OBPI there are treatments and therapies available that can help families’ manage the impact of this disability on their child.

We understand that caring for a child with this type of injury is both stressful and demanding and can put a strain on the financial and psychological health of the whole family.

Our medical negligence team are recognised experts in conducting OBPI claims eg erb's palsy and klumpke's paralysis. With the involvement of specialists such as care and occupational therapists, physiotherapists, educational and psychological experts, we will help you to secure a financial settlement that will provide both financial security and a care package ensuring that your child’s life-long care needs will be met.

Get In Touch or Call us on 0800 195 8467