Klumpke paralysis: an overview

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2019 | Birth Injuries |

Iowa residents who are expecting a child should know that difficult deliveries are not uncommon. The baby can be injured in these, and one of those possible injuries is called Klumpke paralysis. This rare condition is defined as an injury to the nerves in the child’s shoulder, called the brachial plexus, and it can cause stretching, scarring or tearing.

Stretching, known as neuropraxia, is the most minor injury. A tear is the most serious and can take the form of an avulsion, which occurs at the spine, or a rupture. Whatever the extent of the injury, it usually results in weakness and loss of movement in the lower arm and hand. One may even notice that the eyelid on the side of the face opposite the injury will droop. This is a rare symptom and is called Horner syndrome. Usually, a physical examination done at birth will detect Klumpke paralysis.

An estimated 88% of infants with Klumpke paralysis recover within four months, and 92% recover within 12 months. With neuropraxia, most infants recover spontaneously with 90% to 100% of the function in their hand and arm restored.

Treatments for minor cases include arm massaging and range-of-motion exercises. In severe cases, surgical reconnection may be necessary. Only rarely, though, do babies suffer permanent damage from Klumpke paralysis.

Birth injuries often occur during difficult deliveries when doctors or nurses use birth-assisting tools with excessive force. This could be considered a form of negligence and may provide parents with the grounds for a medical malpractice claim. It might be best to hire a lawyer, though, for advice and guidance because there may be opposition to the claim from the other side. A lawyer might handle all negotiations so that plaintiffs are covered for medical bills, emotional trauma and whatever else applies.