In ninety percent of birth injuries involving the brachial plexus, the injury will heal within a few days to six months. The rest do not ever heal.
A concerned mother of an injured baby reports their frustration and desperation. “We were willing to go anywhere, to do anything. But, we didn’t know what to do” following the birth of her son David. Their quest eventually led them to a pediatric physical therapist familiar with the Children’s Hospital Brachial Plexus Clinic, which had opened about five years previously. The clinic is one of a handful of treatment centers in the United States that treats 100 to 125 patients a year with this particular injury.
The chief doctor and clinic founder reports that “Although brachial plexus injuries can occur in accidents or from a breech birth, most are due to shoulder dystocia delivery.” At this particular facility, doctors perform brachial plexus surgery on children as young as 6 to 9 months. They are able to remove scars and add nerve grafts.
Clinic staff monitors the young boy’s physical therapy, and he is now able to swim and play baseball, basketball and hockey on his own. These activities are helping him improve his range of motion.
Last week, during an examination, when the doctor asked David to raise his arms above his head his right arm wasn’t quite as straight as his left and he still has a “winging” where the scapula juts out more on the right side.
In his experience, normal childhood play is wonderful exercise. It’s easy to point energetic children toward an activity that fun and will help strengthen their arms. “It’s summer. That means playgrounds — and lots of monkey bars,” the doctor says. Climbing will be good therapy for the boy’s arm.
Some patients in The Bronx and Brooklyn need surgery which is the case of another of the doctor’s patient – a 3 year old boy. This boy weighed 9 pounds at birth.
“Before the surgery, he couldn’t lift his hand above his belly button.” His first surgery was done shortly after his first birthday and he can now lift his arm to his shoulder. Another surgery is planned later this summer to clear scar tissue from his back to hopefully help him begin moving his arm above his head.
Both families are celebrating the recovery evidenced in both of these cases and the many others coming out of facilities like these.
If a doctor’s negligence or carelessness resulted in your child’s infirmity, that doctor or staff should have to pay for treatments like these. Contact a New York Birth Injury Attorney today to see what your legal rights are.