If your child has Klumpke’s palsy or another type of brachial plexus birth injury, you may be eligible to pursue a payout and hold the doctor or hospital liable for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. Klumpke’s palsy is often preventable and may be the result of medical malpractice.
To learn more, reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. Call 1-800-222-9529 to connect with an attorney in your state. A birth injury lawyer can take on your case at no out-of-pocket cost to your family.
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Klumpke’s Palsy Lawsuits & Injury Cases
Klumpke’s palsy and other types of brachial plexus birth injuries are often preventable when doctors follow proper precautions and protocols during labor and delivery. Not using excessive force, only using assistive devices when necessary, and calling for an emergency cesarean section (C-section) in cases when the baby is too large to deliver vaginally can reduce the risk significantly.
When this type of birth injury occurs, proving a medical malpractice case relies on being able to prove the doctor acted negligently and failed to provide the acceptable standard of care. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a doctor, another medical practitioner, or the hospital could be liable.
To prove a brachial plexus injury, your birth injury attorney will build a strong case using medical records, medical expert witnesses, and other evidence. With this type of case, you may be able to fight for a payout and recover damages that include:
- Medical bills related to the newborn’s injury
- Other treatment costs
- Therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Pain and suffering damages
There are deadlines dictating how long you have to file this type of lawsuit, so it is wise to reach out to an attorney and get started as soon as possible.
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Klumpke’s Palsy Types
Klumpke’s palsy, sometimes called Klumpke’s paralysis or Dejerine-Klumpke palsy, is a type of brachial plexus injury. The brachial plexus is a grouping of spinal nerves that run from the back of the neck to the shoulder, through the armpit, and down the arm.
How a birth injury to the brachial plexus affects an infant depends on the location and severity of the injury. Klumpke’s palsy affects an area of the brachial plexus that controls the muscles and nerves of the forearm, wrist, and hand.
Four types of injuries occur to the brachial plexus:
- Avulsion: The injury severs the connection between the nerve and the spine (injury occurs at the spine)
- Rupture: The injury tears the nerve in another area, not at the spine
- Neuroma: The injury to the nerve heals, but scar tissue prevents the signals from traveling between the muscles and the spine
- Neuropraxia: Also known as stretching, this type of injury damages the nerve but does not sever it
Klumpke’s Palsy Causes
Klumpke’s palsy occurs when there is trauma to the neck or shoulder, usually during vaginal delivery of a newborn. Risk factors include:
- Large babies and especially petite mothers
- Long, difficult labor
- Medical care providers tugging on the baby by one arm during delivery
- Other rough handling during delivery that injures the lower brachial plexus
Klumpke’s Palsy Symptoms
Doctors and other care providers will often see symptoms they suspect are from a brachial plexus injury before a newborn leaves the hospital, or parents will question why their child has a drooping eyelid or seems to have a paralyzed arm.
In general, Klumpke’s palsy symptoms may include:
- Holding the affected hand in a claw-like position with the forearm flat and the wrist and fingers tightened
- Drooping of the eyelid on the opposite side of the face, known as Horner’s syndrome
- Paralysis of the muscles in the lower arm and hand on one side
- No reaction to touch in the affected arm and hand
Klumpke’s Palsy Diagnosis and Treatment
If you or a healthcare provider spot signs that may indicate Klumpke’s palsy, they will order a physical examination to check for paralysis. Then, they will confirm the diagnosis and severity of using one or more diagnostic tests. This could include:
- Electromyogram (EMG)
- Imaging studies including X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI
- Nerve conduction studies
Physical therapy is the typical treatment for helping babies recover as much movement and nerve function as possible. This is often effective, especially for those with only partial tears or bruising. If there is little improvement after four months, your doctor may recommend surgery to try to repair the torn nerve.
Klumpke’s Palsy Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has Klumpke’s Palsy?
If you notice your baby seems to have paralysis or weakness in one arm, or other signs and symptoms of this type of birth injury, bring it to the attention of a trusted doctor.
Can Klumpke’s Palsy be fatal?
Klumpke’s palsy is not fatal, but it can cause lasting impairment. Most patients with Klumpke’s palsy do well with physical therapy alone and may regain full strength, feeling, and control over the affected forearm, hand, and fingers. In some cases, children make only a partial recovery and may suffer lasting effects that include disabilities related to the use of their affected hand and fingers.
Who is liable for Klumpke’s Palsy?
The doctor who delivered your baby or another healthcare provider who failed to call for an emergency C-section may be liable for your child’s birth injuries. In other cases, the hospital may be liable based on the facts of your case. Your attorney will help you identify all potentially liable parties.
What is the statute of limitations for Klumpke’s Palsy?
How long you have to take legal action against the doctor or hospital responsible for your child’s injuries varied based on where the incident occurred. Some states have extremely short statutes of limitations, while others give you several years. Many will toll the countdown when the victim is a minor, but some have a statute of repose that sets a strict deadline on how long you have.
Your birth injury attorney will be able to give you more information during your free review of your case.
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Klumpke’s Palsy Glossary Terms
- What is Neuropraxia? Neuropraxia is the mildest type of nerve injury. The nerve sustains bruising or a partial tear, but the patient is usually able to recover fully.
- What is Neuroma? Neuroma is a type of nerve injury that occurs when the nerve heals, but scar tissue grows around the nerve and prevents signals from traveling between the arm and the brain.
- What is Avulsion? Avulsion is the most severe type of nerve injury, occurring when the nerve is torn at the spine. Patients usually require surgery to recover any movement or feeling.
Talk to a Klumpke’s Palsy Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your child has a Klumpke’s palsy diagnosis, you may be able to build a strong medical malpractice case against the medical professional or hospital responsible for their birth injury. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today: 1-800-222-9529. You can connect with a local birth injury lawyer who will help you pursue damages.