Medical Malpractice Can Contribute to Birth Trauma Injury


Pregnancy and birth are joyful and worrisome times. For most people, they turn out well with a healthy happy delivery and healthy mother. However, sometimes the outcome is terrible and can have lifelong consequences for the child and family.

Birth injuries such as these occur regularly in Canada:

  • Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus Palsy
  • fetal and neonatal stroke, 
  • Hypoxic Ischemic, 
  • Encephalopathy,  
  • Shoulder dystocia,
  • Spinal cord injuries; 
  • Jaundice, 
  • Kernicterus and Hyperbilirubinemia,
  • Meconium and Meconium Aspieraton Syndrome, 
  • Newborn infections,
  • Seizures,
  • Trauma from forceps and vacuum,
  • Cerebral Palsy

Sadly, these can all cause temporary or permanent physical or brain impairment altering the course of the baby’s life. These conditions may occur from improper prenatal care or errors made during the birthing process. The impairments may be immediately apparent or can take days, weeks or even a couple of months to become noticeable.

Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy

Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy injuries occur in about 1:1000 births in North America. It results in damage to head and shoulder nerves during birth. While mobility of the arm is maintained usually there will be a weakness in the limbs. Hand eye-co-ordination and fine motor skills can also be disrupted.

Three different kinds of Brachial Plexus can occur:

  • Avulsion – the most serious form of the injury and the only one called Erb’s Palsy. This injury results when the nerve is entirely torn away from the spinal cord and typically requires a nerve graft to improve the symptoms.
  • Rupture: this form occurs when the nerve is partially torn and a new nerve graft may be required to allow signals to travel along the nerve.
  • Neuropraxia – the mildest form of Brachial Plexus occurs when scar tissue forms around a stretched or pulled nerve. This causes an inability to properly transmit nerve signals as well.

Prevention of Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus

The condition can be prevented by discussing with your obstetrician the risk factors of the conditions. Some larger babies and women with smaller hips may be at higher risk for babies getting stuck in the birth canal, however, skilled doctors have techniques to safely deliver your baby.

If you have had a child injured during birth you should contact our highly experienced team at Deutschmann Personal Injury Law for a free consultation 1 (866) 414-4878. Birth injury cases are complex but we are pleased to discuss your concerns about the birth of your child and the outcome.


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