Expectant parents in Pennsylvania do not want to hear that their newborn infant suffered orthopedic injuries during the birthing process. However, such birth injuries are not unheard of. Most importantly, they are preventable. During delivery, newborns with large weights and mature gestational ages are most likely to suffer orthopedic injuries.
Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that travels from the neck to the arm. It is located just below the collarbone (clavicle) and infants can suffer injuries during childbirth. When the head and arm are pulled in opposite directions, the brachial plexus is stretched. In most cases, this injury leads to arm weakness.
Orthopedic birth injuries such as clavicle fractures are widespread. The infant’s chest and shoulder are connected via the clavicle (collarbone). In this setting, injuries rarely result in noticeable deformities but usually cause pain around the fracture site.
Growth Plate Fractures
A growth plate fracture is an injury that occurs in infants. Initially, bone grows faster in areas of softer cartilage, which makes it more prone to being injured. Swelling at the end of one long bone (leg or arm) is indicative of a growth plate fracture caused by birth injury. An X-ray doesn’t always reveal abnormalities, but the healing process often shows on it a week later.
An awkward twist during delivery may result in a broken femur. Unlike clavicle fractures, these injuries are very rare. Movement and diaper changes are typically when the newborn with a fractured thigh bone experiences the most pain.
Parents of newborns who suffered orthopedic birth injuries might have questions about their rights to pursue claims for monetary damages. Proof of a medical professional’s negligence might give them grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in a Pennsylvania civil court. The successful presentation of such a claim might yield financial relief to cover medical and other damages.