A brachial plexus injury is an often severe form of birth injury that is caused by physical trauma to the brachial plexus nerve cluster. These injuries are classified into three categories, including stretch, rupture and avulsion. These classifications describe the severity of the injury, with stretch being the most benign and avulsion being the most serious. A stretch brachial plexus injury occurs when the bundled nerve fibers at the base of the neck are stretched. These fibers run from the neck to the arm, and the stretching may range in severity from mild to serious.
Stretching injuries that leave the nerve intact are known as neurapraxia, and they generally resolve within a short amount of time. Ruptures are a more serious type of brachial plexus injury that involve at least one nerve being stretched to the point of tearing. The severity of a rupture is largely determined by whether the tearing is mild enough to repair on its own and whether the nerve sheath is intact. If the nerve sheath is damaged, healing is less likely to take place.
Avulsions are the most serious form of brachial plexus injury as the root of the nerve is torn completely from the spinal cord. This leaves a hole that can interrupt nerve impulse transmission across the spinal cord, which potentially leads to reduced mobility in the leg on the side of the avulsion. Avulsions are caused by extreme pulling on the brachial plexus and can even lead to growth disruption in the leg.
Arizona residents who are dealing with this serious birth injury have options when it comes to pursuing compensation for medical expenses. Because brachial plexus injuries are caused by trauma during birth, doctor error may be a factor in their occurrence. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help victims of medical malpractice show that their doctor acted with negligence and receive the compensation they deserve.
Source: BirthInjury.org, "Types of Injuries", October 30, 2014