Researchers aim to develop birth injury treatment technology

Parents in Ohio whose babies have been diagnosed with brachial plexus birth palsy may face a number of challenges. BPBP occurs in four of every 1,000 births in this country. It takes place when an infant sustains an injury during birth to the nerve network that travels from the neck through the shoulder down to the arm and hand. While many children who sustain this birth injury do recover on their own, about 30 percent of them experience lifelong issues with arm function and require surgeries and therapies. In more severe cases, children can be left with a paralyzed arm.

BPBP injuries are generally caused during difficult deliveries, sometimes when a medical professional uses significant force pulling the baby. In some cases, doctors mishandle infants during birth or fail to recommend caesarian sections, leading to brachial plexus birth palsy. The medical community currently does not completely understand the musculoskeletal systems of babies with BPBP, and this makes it difficult to treat the condition effectively. Interesting research is currently taking place out east in an attempt to develop better BPBP treatments.

The Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia is partnering with the University of Delaware to determine whether technology developed to help figure skaters with their training can be useful to refine brachial plexus birth palsy treatments.

The technology involves motion capture cameras that provide data about muscle motion so that figure skaters can study their jumps. The researchers are hoping the same technology can be used to provide insight on the location and extent of nerve and muscle damage in individual BPBP patients. The researchers are currently working with BPBP patients to learn more about the movement of the scapula, and they hope to eventually develop a system that will allow medical professionals to better pinpoint specific surgical techniques to treat specific BPBP patients.

Hopefully, the treatment of BPBP will continue to advance, because unfortunately these injuries do affect a number of children here in Ohio, often due to medical malpractice. Skilled medical malpractice attorneys can help determine whether BPBP was caused by medical malpractice, and if so, help families obtain compensation for medical treatment and pain and suffering.

For more information about pursuing a medical malpractice claim after a birth injury, please visit our Cleveland law firm’s Birth Injury page.

Source: University of Delaware, “Collaboration aims to develop clinically useful tool to shed light on birth injury,” Diane Kukich, Feb. 27, 2013

Source: Boston Children’s Hospital, “Brachial plexus birth palsy,” 2011

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