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Klumpke’s palsy is also known as Klumpe’s paralysis or Dejerine-Klumpke palsy. It’s a type of brachial plexus palsy, which is paralysis of the arm caused by an injury to the brachial plexus nerves, a network of nerves that starts in the back of the neck, extends through the armpit and shoulder, and gives rise to the nerves in the arm.
It causes complications in newborns that arise from circumstances like a tough vaginal birth that pulls and stretches on the nerves, a large birth weight, maternal diabetes, labor induction abnormalities, the second stage of labor taking more than an hour, and vaginal delivery with the improper use of tools like forceps. The injuries that can occur from Klumpke’s palsy include rupture, or a tear in the nerves in place, scarring, stretching, and avulsion, which is a tearing of the nerves away from the spine.
Symptoms of Klumpke’s Palsy
A baby may have Klumpke’s palsy if they are experiencing symptoms like:
- Poor reflexes
- Tightened hand and fingers
- Minimal hand movement
- A limp lower arm
- Muscle weakness
- Stiff joints
- Drooping of the eyelid on one side of the face
- Sensory loss
Since other types of injuries may cause some of these symptoms, it’s best to go to a doctor for an official diagnosis. They will likely perform a physical evaluation to see if you baby is experiencing any of these symptoms and do advanced tests using imaging (such as X-rays, an ultrasound, or an MRI), an electromyogram (EMG), and/or a nerve conduction study. They will also monitor your baby’s condition over time.
Treatment for Klumpke’s Palsy
Typically, Klumpke’s palsy will heal itself within six months. If a more serious and rare case occurs, then symptoms could potentially last for years. A child could experience lifelong issues with their fingers, hand, or arm if there is a tearing of the nerve, especially if it’s away from the spine.
Your baby might undergo physical therapy to treat a mild case of Klumpke’s palsy. They will partake in range-of-motion exercises that stop joint stiffening from occurring in the wrist, elbow, and hand. Medications, like prescriptions and topical ointments, could also be effective in treating the burning sensation that comes along with this condition. Additionally, your baby could benefit from gentle massage or need to wear splints to keep their wrist, arm, or hand in proper alignment.
If physical therapy does not work or the condition is more severe, than surgical intervention could be required. Necessary surgeries could include a nerve graft, muscle transfer, or nerve transfer. Following surgery, your baby may need to do rehabilitation exercises at home in order to make a full recovery.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Klumpke’s Palsy?
Klumpke’s palsy is not always caused by medical malpractice. It can also occur because a mother has diabetes, a baby is heavy, or some other uncontrollable factor. However, sometimes medical malpractice does occur. If a birth injury caused Klumpke’s palsy, then you might be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Right now, however, you’re just doing your best to ensure your baby is healthy and happy. You don’t have the time to go to get wrapped up in litigation or the energy to go to court or fight with your doctor. The only thing is that you’re saddled with all these medical bills, you’ve had to take time off work, and you’ve suffered greatly because you’re worried and stressed about your baby. What can you do?
Thankfully, a birth injury malpractice lawyer who has handled Klumpke’s palsy cases in the past will be able to help you. When you get in contact with them, they’ll let you know their professional opinion on whether or not they believe medical malpractice did occur. And then they’ll pursue a settlement for you.
How Much Will I Receive From a Klumpke’s Palsy Settlement?
There’s no real way of knowing how much your settlement will be for Klumpke’s palsy. But you may be eligible to claim damages such as:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
It all depends on the severity of the birth injury. For example, if your baby fully recovered with a little bit of gentle massage and physical therapy over the course of a few months, your settlement would likely be lower. But if your baby has long-term damage and it’s going to affect how they function for the rest of their life, then your settlement will likely be higher. You may not think of all the damages that could apply, which is why it’s wise to hire a lawyer to procure compensation for you.
Settlement Offers in a Klumpke’s Palsy Case
If you’re ready to contact a birth injury lawyer, then let them know the details of what happened during a pregnancy, birth, and after the baby was born in terms of their health. Then, provide them with any evidence of medical malpractice you have, such as photos of your baby’s injuries, medical bills from physical therapy appointments, receipts from prescription medications you purchased, or witness statements from other healthcare professionals who saw what happened during the birthing process.
Your lawyer will get in touch with the defendant – whether it’s a doctor, nurse, hospital, or another healthcare professional – and try to negotiate a settlement with them. Hopefully, the defendant will provide suitable compensation that will cover all the damages, but if not, your lawyer can always go back to the drawing board and attempt a renegotiation. If that doesn’t work, and the defendant is not willing to budge, you can absolutely take them to court to try to get a higher settlement.
This may sound like a lot of work, but you have to do very little aside from providing your lawyer with details about your case and being available for correspondence here and there. Your lawyer will do the rest, working hard on your behalf since they know that you’re busy with your baby right now.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
You’re likely too exhausted right now to fight with the defendant or try to prove medical malpractice, which is notoriously difficult. The legal system makes it complicated to prove and oftentimes, cases fail before they even get to court. However, a birth injury lawyer will have the experience and know exactly what is needed when trying to prove malpractice. They also have negotiation skills and will fight for your settlement so you’re not stuck paying bills you never anticipated.
Klumpke’s Palsy Birth Injury Attorneys
If your baby got a birth injury that caused Klumpke’s palsy, then you have the right to try to recover damages. All you have to do is get in touch with the experienced birth injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian to get started on your case. We’re standing by and eager to help.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.