Seattle Brachial Plexus Injury Lawyers
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that travels from the spine, through the neck and into the armpits, arms, and hands. When these nerves are damaged, it can cause paralysis in these parts of the body, although the injury does typically only affect one arm or one side of the body. There are many different types of brachial plexus injuries, but the most common are caused by birth injuries, when the baby has been forcefully pulled through the birth canal.
Birth injuries caused by damage to the brachial plexus are the most preventable, and parents of babies that have been affected should contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer right away.
Any time the shoulder is forced down and the neck is stretched up, the nerves in the brachial plexus could be damaged, and injury could result. The most common cause of brachial plexus injuries are difficult births. In these cases, when the infant is in a difficult position in the birth canal, or if the mother is small or the baby is large, the attending physician may pull on the baby's shoulder or neck, trying to dislodge the head. This can cause damage to the brachial plexus and can result in temporary or permanent nerve damage.
Other common causes of brachial plexus injuries are:
- Sports, especially those with a lot of contact such as football or wrestling
- Trauma, such as car accidents or slip and falls
- Radiation treatment
- Inflammation in the area
The treatment for brachial plexus injuries largely depends on the amount of damage done. In minor cases, when the nerve has been stretched but not actually torn, no treatment is typically necessary and the condition will most often repair itself. If the nerves are torn slightly, but are not completely removed from the spinal cord, minor treatment such as massage or physical therapy may be required to treat the condition.
In more severe cases, when the nerves have been completely torn away from the spinal cord, surgery is usually required to repair the damage. This can include nerve grafts, nerve transfers, or even muscle transfers. In these procedures, functioning nerves and muscles from another area of the body may be surgically removed, replacing the damaged nerves and/or muscles with those that are working properly.
When the brachial plexus is damaged due to a birth injury and surgery is required, it often must be done shortly following the birth in order to repair the damage. Adults that are suffering from brachial plexus injuries should typically seek treatment six to seven months after the injury. After that time it's likely that the damage is permanent. In these cases, the pain can be debilitating, so pain medication will often be prescribed to help keep patients comfortable.
It's true that brachial plexus injuries are often minor, but in other cases they can be severe and cause those suffering from it a significant loss of quality of life. If you or your infant is suffering from a brachial plexus injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the injury. Brachial plexus injury cases can be difficult to fight in court. They require a deep understanding of not only personal injury law, but also medical practices and procedures. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we are the Seattle birth injury attorneys that can help. We know just how devastating brachial plexus injuries (such as Klumpke's palsy and Erb's palsy) can be, and we know how to fight them in court. Don't wait another minute. Call us today toll-free at (888) 228-3860.
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