A brachial plexus birth injury (BPBI) can cause lasting effects, such as Klumpke’s palsy or Erb’s palsy. Klumpke’s palsy is caused when there is injury to the lower brachial plexus while Erb’s palsy is injury to the upper brachial plexus. Both types of injuries range from mild to severe, with various symptoms that can be temporary or can go on to cause a lifelong handicap.
BPBI prevalence varies among countries, in the US for example it occurs in about 1.5 out of 1000 live births (Yarfi et al, 2019) with risk factors including shoulder dystocia, large birth weight, and delivery with forceps. In contrast, the prevalence of BPBI is over 14% of live births at a regional hospital within Ghana. Researchers set out to determine why there is a higher rate within this region.
Looking across a 5 year period, they found that 15% of births within an urban hospital resulted in a brachial plexus injury. Within that 15%, the majority were female, and 80% of the injuries occurred on the right arm. The risk factors they determined for BPBI from this population include large birth weight and prolonged labor in mothers over 34 years old.
“The complications resulting in brachial plexus injury in this population is due to mothers not attending antenatal clinics, refusal to undergo caesarean section, delay in reporting to the hospital when labour sets in and lack of early referrals” (Yarfi et al, 2019). This reiterates how important prenatal care is for mothers, along with care providers knowing the risk factors for BPBI.
If your baby suffered injuries during delivery, you should speak with an attorney. The legal team at The Holton Law Firm can review your case, help determine if you have a birth injury case, and provide superior representation, if necessary. The legal team at Holton Law Firm is ready to advocate for you and your baby, and we invite you to review our free guide, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries.