During labor and childbirth, many dangerous complications can occur – and while some of these may not be preventable even with the best medical care, all doctors should avoid making mistakes that can lead to Klumpke’s palsy. Much like Erb’s palsy, this paralyzing condition is strongly linked to shoulder dystocia, which is a birth injury that can cause lasting damage to an infant’s delicate brachial plexus nerves.
When a doctor has failed to protect your child from a serious birth injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your losses. At Spohrer Dodd, our Jacksonville attorneys have represented families whose children have developed Klumpke’s palsy, and with $1 billion recovered for the injured in Florida and nationwide, we have the skill to advocate on your behalf when a medical professional has been negligent during delivery.
Contact us today at (904) 637-7721 to get started with a free consultation.
What causes Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s palsy is often marked by the following symptoms in the forearms, wrists, and hands:
- Loss of feeling or sensation
- Limpness, paralysis, and/or limited mobility
- Claw-like appearance to the hand
As mentioned in the previous section, the primary cause of Klumpke’s palsy is shoulder dystocia, which happens when an infant’s shoulder or arm gets caught on the mother’s pubic bone during vaginal delivery. Without immediate action from a skilled physician, shoulder dystocia can deeply damage the brachial plexus nerves, or the nerves controlling the back of the neck and upper limbs.
There are four kinds of brachial plexus injuries that lead to Klumpke’s palsy, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
- Avulsion, when the nerve is severed from the spinal column.
- Rupture, when the nerve is torn (not at the spine.)
- Neuroma, when the nerve is healed but has developed scar tissue that interferes with nervous system signals.
- Neuropraxia, when the nerve is stretched beyond capacity but is not torn.
FAQs About Klumpke’s Palsy
Is there a cure for Klumpke’s palsy?
There is no immediate cure for infant brachial plexus damage or Klumpke’s palsy. However, depending on the severity of the injury, it is possible for the symptoms of Klumpke’s palsy to improve or even disappear over time. This is especially true with neuropraxia, or stretching injuries. It’s also critical for infants to get prompt medical treatment after diagnosis, as well as receive ongoing physical therapy.
What is the difference between Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy?
Aside from the fact that Erb’s palsy affects the upper nerves of the brachial plexus and Klumpke’s palsy affects the lower nerves, these injuries can also look very different in practice: For example, Erb’s palsy more often involves atrophy of the arm and shoulder muscles than paralysis of the lower arms. Erb’s palsy is also considered to be a broad synonym for brachial plexus damage, whereas Klumpke’s palsy is a more unique and specific form of this damage.
When do I have a medical malpractice case for Klumpke’s palsy?
As with any medical malpractice lawsuit, you may sue a negligent healthcare provider over Klumpke’s palsy injuries if your case includes the following three factors: 1) There was a clear violation of the standard of care, 2) you can establish causation between that violation and your child’s injuries, and 3) these actions resulted in significant damage or injuries. Although milder cases may not meet the third criterion, doctors do have a responsibility to prevent and avoid shoulder dystocia. Those who fail to meet this standard of care may be found liable.
Do you have more questions about Klumpke’s palsy? Contact our Jacksonville attorneys today at (904) 637-7721 to schedule a free consultation.