The nerves that run between the shoulders and the neck are known as the brachial plexus, and some babies suffer injuries to these nerves during the labor and delivery process. This happens in approximately one to three births out of every 1,000. In each of these cases, the newborn may suffer considerable damage, which can greatly impact their life.
The area of the brachial plexus that’s damaged can have a direct impact on how the baby is affected. The hand and forearm are affected by a lower brachial plexus injury, but the shoulder and elbow are impacted by an upper brachial plexus injury.
Another factor that determines the extent of the impact is the type of injury. A stretched brachial plexus will likely heal over the course of a few months. A ruptured one or one that becomes scarred during the healing process may need surgery. If the nerve roots are ripped from the spinal cord, surgery won’t help unless the baby has a nerve transfer. More serious injuries can also involve the eyelid on the side of the injury, which can cause drooping.
Some babies who have this birth injury will heal over time without any intervention. There are some instances in which they may need surgery, but it’s also possible that the injury will result in lifelong issues for the child. This can lead to considerable medical care needs, which can weigh heavily on the parents. These parents might opt to seek compensation for the injury their child suffered. This can include damages for medical care costs and similar expenses that are related to the injury.