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A child who suffers from Klumpke’s palsy may be living with permanent disabilities. This condition is often triggered by birth injuries, and in some cases should have been prevented by better medical care. If your child is struggling with this condition that affects nerves and muscles in the lower arm, talk with a birth injury lawyer about what you can do to get justice and recover compensation for expenses.
What is Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s palsy is a condition that causes weakness, tingling, pain, and paralysis in the lower arm, wrist, and hand. It results from nerve damage in the brachial plexus, the bundle of nerves that runs from the spine, along the side of the neck and down the arm.  Damage to nerves that control the upper arm is known as Erb’s palsy.
Collectively these conditions are called brachial plexus injuries or palsies.
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A baby with Klumpke’s palsy may exhibit a number of symptoms or complications:
- Holding the affected arm limply at the side
- The palm turned up or out with the elbow bent
- A claw hand, tight hand with a limp arm
- Weak muscles
- Stiff hand and wrist joints
- Pain or numbness
- Horner’s syndrome, eyelid drooping
The symptoms of Klumpke’s palsy may be a little different for each child. Some experience severe disabilities while for others the symptoms are milder. In mild cases, the condition typically resolves with physical therapy in three to six months.
For more severe cases of nerve damage, surgery may be required. A child with serious nerve injuries may never fully recover. They may end up with a permanent disability, including paralysis in the affected arm.
Causes of Klumpke’s Palsy
Older children or adults can develop Klumpke’s palsy as a result of an injury or accident, or even a tumor that damages the nerves.
In infants, sometimes birth complications can cause a nerve injury resulting in palsy. In some cases, these may be genuine accidents, but a doctor or other health professional can also make a mistake or fail to take actions during pregnancy or delivery that lead directly to the damage:
- Using too much force in delivering the baby
- Misusing forceps or a vacuum extractor
- Failing to diagnose or treat maternal diabetes, leading to a large birth weight
- Failing to order a C-section when complications are present
Proving Medical Negligence
If a doctor or other medical staff made an error that led to your child’s condition and disability, it could be considered negligence. This means that the medical professional failed to provide care that met an adequate standard as defined by other, relevant experts. 
There are three main things to consider when trying to prove your child was the victim of medical negligence:
- You must show that the provider had responsibility for you and your child’s care. If this was your doctor or a midwife you hired, for instance, it meets the requirements.
- It also must be shown that this medical professional made an error. The mistake could be an action, such as pulling too forcefully on the baby coming out of the birth canal, or inaction, including not performing a C-section when complications indicated vaginal birth was too risky.
- It must then be shown that the error contributed to or caused your child’s disability. If the pulling on the baby stretched the neck and damaged the brachial plexus nerves, this indicates a causal mistake.
Proving negligence isn’t always straightforward, which is why you need a good lawyer on your side to make your case.
When You Need a Klumpke’s Palsy Lawyer
If your child suffered from a birth injury and is now disabled, you need to talk with a Klumpke’s palsy lawyer. You may be unsure as to whether or not negligence played a role, but a lawyer can discuss your case, look over the details, and give you an opinion.
You also need this lawyer by your side if you do decide to take legal action. Doctors have large insurance companies with multiple lawyers behind them to defend against medical malpractice accusations. This means that a lawsuit can be difficult to win without specific legal expertise.
How Can a Lawyer Help My Child?
A lawyer will help you initially by looking over your case and determining if medical malpractice is likely. They can then guide your next steps and give you the information you need to make a decision about whether or not to file a lawsuit.
If you do file a lawsuit against a hospital or doctor, your lawyer will provide expertise and experience that will increase your chances of winning. They understand medical malpractice laws by state and have access to expert witnesses for testimony.
For your child, the most important way in which a lawyer can help may be in winning compensation. Recovering damages is essential when you have a child with a disability. You may be facing a number of costs for which you should be compensated:
- Lost wages
- Medical equipment
- Physical therapy
- Ongoing home care
Finding the Best Klumpke’s Palsy Lawyer
Before you take another step, find and contact a good lawyer who specializes in birth injuries and medical malpractice. The laws are complicated and different in each state. Powerful insurance company legal teams can be tough to go up against, even for lawyers with the relevant experience.
Contact groups that advocate for disabled children; parents of children with disabilities; community organizations; and your state bar association. These can all be good resources for finding a lawyer who will be able to help you.
How to Work with Your Lawyer for the Best Outcome
When you do find the right lawyer for your case, it’s important that you are open and honest. Provide your lawyer with all the relevant medical documentation and records that will help them evaluate your case. They will also need all receipts for expenses related to your child’s disability to determine a fair compensation amount.
Having a child with a disability can be devastating. You only want the best for your baby, and that means taking action to get treatment immediately and talking to a lawyer right away. Taking legal action may seem extreme, but so are medical mistakes that cause permanent damage.
- Klumpke's Palsy - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. (2019, June 4). National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531500/
- An Introduction to Medical Malpractice in the United States. (2008, November 26). PubMed Central (PMC).
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628513/