Klumpke paralysis, or klumpke palsy, is a type of newborn injury known as brachial palsy. As explained by the National Institute of Health (NIH), the condition occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are injured, due to stretching, tearing or scarring. This network of nerves extends from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, wrists and fingers. Each one controls a specific movement or sensation in the arms or hands.
The injury occurs at birth as a result of improper delivery techniques by the doctor. It begins when the baby’s shoulder lodges behind the pubic bone of the mother during delivery. This situation creates an emergency situation where it is vital to the viability and health of the newborn to complete delivery. In response, your obstetrician may use a variety of methods, including:
Suprapubic Pressure is a technique that involves pushing on the mother’s stomach at a forty-five degree angle in an effort to relocate the trapped shoulder below the pubic bone.
The Rubens Maneuver occurs when the obstetrician inserts her hand into the birth canal in an effort to rotate the baby and successfully dislodge the shoulder.
The Zavenelli Maneuver is an uncommon procedure, but it occurs when the obstetrician pushes the baby back into the vagina, and completes the delivery by cesarean section.
Symphsectomy is also an uncommon procedure. It occurs when the doctor surgically cuts the mother’s pubic bone and creates more room for the baby’s shoulder.
Any of these procedures, if done incorrectly, can result in Klumpke paralysis.
Types of Paralysis:
*Klumpke palsy can occur in four different ways:
*Avulsion occurs when the injured nerves separate from the spine
*A rupture occurs when the nerve tears, but not away from the spine
*Neuroma occurs when an injured nerve heals, but scar mission remains and places pressure on it. Partial paralysis continues because the nerve remains unable to transmit signals to the forearm and hand.
*Neuropraxia is stretching of the nerve, which causes damages without tearing.
As a new parent, you may leave the hospital with no knowledge that your baby has Klumpke Palsy. Most often, it is diagnosed by the pediatrician during the initial office visits. However, you may be able to recognize the condition yourself by looking for the following symptoms:
*Numbness in the arm and/or hand
*Inability to use shoulder, arm and/ or hand muscles
*Paralysis of arm and/ or hand
*Stiffness in the joints
*Drooping eyelids on the opposite of the face from the affected arm
In many instances, newborns recover from this injury within six to 12 months, with a recovery percentage of 90-100%. However, severe cases may result in an injury lasting for multiple years or, in the most serious cases, remaining as a lifelong disability.
Any physician malpractice is difficult to accept, but it is especially egregious when the victim is an innocent newborn. When injuries occur, families are left to deal with the physical, emotional and financial responsibility. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, you can hold the delivering physician financially accountable for her actions.
If your infant was born with Klumpke Palsy, contact the experienced attorneys of Levin & Perconti at (312) 332-2872 for a free consultation.