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Klumpke’s palsy is a rare condition marked by damage to the lower arm, hand, and wrist. Complications or mistakes made during labor and delivery are the leading causes of this birth injury in infants. Consider filing a Klumpke’s palsy lawsuit if you feel your child’s injury results from medical mistakes that could have been prevented.
Klumpke’s Palsy Signs and Prognosis
Klumpke’s palsy is a condition caused by nerve damage that results in disability in the lower arm. Nerves that control sensations and movement in the arm are known as the brachial plexus.
The nerves form a bundle along the neck and run from the spine to various parts of the arm. When the nerves that connect to the forearm, wrist, and hand are damaged, the resulting condition is known as Klumpke’s palsy.
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An infant with this condition may exhibit mild symptoms difficult to notice initially or more severe symptoms, depending on the severity of the brachial plexus damage. Some of the symptoms include:
- Weak or atrophied muscles in the forearm
- Unusual arm position, such as claw hand or the palm facing up or out with the elbow bent
- A limp arm resting at the baby’s side
- Pain, numbness, tingling in the arm
- Stiff joints that are difficult to move
- A complete inability to use the forearm, hand, or wrist.
- A drooping eyelid on the same side of the face as the affected arm
The prognosis for Klumpke’s palsy is good for many babies. Minor damage to the nerves usually heals within a few months, resulting in restored function in the arm. Some babies need physical therapy and recovery.
Others need surgery to repair more severe nerve damage and ruptures. Some babies end up with lifelong disabilities from this birth injury.
How Birth Injuries Cause Klumpke’s Palsy
Brachial plexus damage comes from nerves being stretched, torn, or severed. If scar tissue develops on the nerves, that can also cause symptoms.
Complications during delivery may result in brachial plexus damage, for instance, if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal.
The physician or midwife could also pull too hard on the baby, stretching out those nerves along the neck.
There are important risk factors for Klumpke’s palsy in infants:
- High birth weight in the baby
- Gestational diabetes in the mother
- Prolonged labor
- Breech position during delivery
- Forceful pulling on the baby during delivery
When Klumpke’s Palsy Is Caused by Negligence
The risk factors for Klumpke’s palsy cannot always be controlled or prevented. However, if a doctor does not take them into account and take steps to manage these risk factors, they may be considered responsible for the resulting birth injury.
Medical professionals are responsible for providing an adequate standard of care to patients for which they are responsible. When they do not, which leads to harm, they can be considered negligent.
Negligence may take the form of an action or inaction:
- Failing to treat the mother for gestational diabetes
- Not performing a C-section during a difficult delivery
- Misusing forceps or a vacuum extractor and pulling on the baby with too much force.
Why File a Lawsuit?
If you even suspect that your child’s disability could have been prevented by better care, you may want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. One reason is to hold those responsible accountable for their mistakes.
For you and your child personally, it may be more important to file this lawsuit to recover damages.
Disabilities come with expenses, including medical bills, therapy, medication, office visits and transportation, home aides and assistive equipment, and others. A lawsuit may result in a settlement or verdict that helps you cover these costs and care for your child in the future.
How a Klumpke’s Palsy Lawyer Can Help
Filing and winning a medical malpractice lawsuit isn’t easy. You have the burden of proof, and doctors have large insurance companies with extensive legal teams to defend them.
A Klumpke’s palsy lawyer, someone who specializes in medical malpractice and birth injury cases, can help you with their expertise.
Choose a lawyer with relevant experience and knowledge. They can provide you with information about your options, your chances of a successful lawsuit, and the right steps to take next.
A lawyer will do the research, find expert witnesses, try to negotiate a settlement, and, if necessary, argue your case in a trial to give you the best chance of recovering damages.
Examples of Birth Injury Lawsuits and Settlements
Lawyers regularly win these types of lawsuits for their clients. A recent example includes a family who won a jury verdict of $2.75 million after their baby suffered a brachial plexus injury.
The baby was left with a permanent disability, barely able to use his arm at all.
The case, which took place in Dayton, Ohio, resulted in a damages award after lawyers argued that the delivering physician used a vacuum extractor inappropriately.
A case in Illinois resulted in a $1 million verdict after a baby was born with both Erb’s palsy (affecting the upper arm) and Klumpke’s palsy. She has permanent disabilities in her arm after a physician, Dr. James Dalla Riva, used too much force during delivery.
The lawyers also proved that the doctor should have decided to perform a C-section.
Klumpke’s palsy can be mild, but many infants born with this birth injury will have lifelong difficulties. If this is your child, consider taking legal action.
A lawsuit can help you get justice and recover the damages that will allow you to provide your child with the best care.
- Klumpke's Palsy - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. (2019, June 4). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531500/
- Erb-Duchenne and Dejerine-Klumpke Palsies Information Page. (2019, March 27). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Retrieved from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Erb-Duchenne-and-Dejerine-Klumpke-Palsies-Information-Page
- Unanimous $2.75 Million Verdict For Birth Injury In Dayton, Ohio. (2018, March 15). Benzinga.
Retrieved from: https://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/18/03/p11365614/unanimous-2-75-million-verdict-for-birth-injury-in-dayton-ohio
- Mother awarded $1M in malpractice lawsuit. (2014, September 13). The Edwardsville Intelligencer.
Retrieved from: https://www.theintelligencer.com/local/article/Mother-awarded-1M-in-malpractice-lawsuit-10441530.php