It is caused by an injury to the lower brachial plexus, and is usually the result of injuries that occur to the infant during the process of childbirth. Fortunately, it’s a rare condition, affecting only about 200,000 people nation-wide.
Sometimes, Klumpke’s palsy is the result of medical negligence. When that is the case, a Klumpke’s palsy attorney can help you to get compensation for the injuries to your child.
Understanding Klumpke’s Palsy
Klumpke’s palsy is sometimes referred to as “claw hand.” This is because the fourth and fifth fingers of the hand that’s affected curl backward toward the wrist. Sufferers typically present with an arm that is paralyzed or droops. They also lack muscle control in the arm, wrist and/or hand, and may experience a persistent feeling of numbness. When numbness isn’t present, there is usually total paralysis.
The long-term effects of Klumpke’s palsy can be devastating. Children who are so affected can be subjected to bullying, and will often be unable to participate in the activities that their peers enjoy. Simple activities like dressing, bathing, playing and eating can be difficult, and the child may need a great deal of assistance. This can result in significant expense for the parents.
When Klumpke’s palsy is the result of medical malpractice or negligence during delivery, a Klumpke’s palsy attorney can help the parents to obtain compensation to offset the expenses that they will inevitably incur. They may also be able to recover damages for loss of quality of life as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering.
Treating Klumpke’s Palsy
In the best-case scenario, injuries incurred during the process of birth may heal themselves. Most of the time, though, surgery is the only way to treat Klumpke’s palsy. During the surgical procedure, the torn nerves are reattached. Recovery can take several months, and physiotherapy may be needed. Surgery and physiotherapy can be expensive, and when these treatments are needed for Klumpke’s palsy, an attorney can help you to get compensation from negligent parties.
How Bad Is Klumpke’s Palsy?
As we’ve stated, Klumpke’s palsy is caused by injuries to the brachial plexus. They vary in severity. In order of severity, from least to worst, these injuries are 1) neuropraxia, 2) neuroma, 3) rupture, and 4) avulsion.
This type of injury is also sometimes called a “stretch injury,” and it is the result of an injury to the spinal nerves that does not involve a tear. These are the most common injuries that can result in Klumpke’s palsy.
When spinal nerves tear, then heal, and develop scar tissue, it’s called neuroma. Because the scar tissues presses up against the damaged nerves, the nerves are not able to properly transmit the signals to the hand and arm muscles that tell them to move.
This is, as you might expect, a tearing of the nerves. If they’re torn anywhere other than the point where they would normally attach to the spine, Klumpke’s palsy can result.
With an avulsion, the spinal nerves are completely detached from the spine. In this case, paralysis is the most likely result.
Any of these injuries can be caused by medical negligence.
The most likely cause of Klumpke’s palsy is a difficult vaginal delivery. Sometimes this can’t be prevented. In other instances, the doctor or midwife may have pulled the child from the mother’s birth canal by grabbing onto its arm. If the shoulder is impacted, the likelihood of Klumpke’s palsy is increased.
If your child has Klumpke’s palsy due to medical negligence or malpractice, you should see a Klumpke’s palsy attorney to discuss obtaining the compensation you deserve.