The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that run from the spine through the neck and into the arm. Sometimes, during delivery, a baby's shoulder can become lodged behind a mother's pelvic bone. There are specific methods used by doctors to get the shoulder free. However, if the doctor doesn't adhere to these methods, damage to the brachial plexus -- including pulled or completely torn nerves -- can occur and the child may lose the use of his or her arm.
A 13-year-old boy who suffered this sort of birth injury and underwent three subsequent surgeries because of it isn't letting the lack of use in his left arm slow him down. Instead, he is fulfilling his dream of becoming a racecar driver. He began competing at the age of 8 and is now the youngest racer in his racing series. The boy does strength exercises in his bedroom so that he can have more use of his right side in order to compensate for the injury. He hopes, in the future, to become a NASCAR driver.
For children who have suffered a birth injury, the chance to fulfill their dreams remains intact. However -- as in the story mentioned above -- these types of injuries may come with complications, additional medical treatment and other expenses. For parents whose children have been injured at birth, there may be compensation to assist with those additional expenses.
While a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or the hospital where the injury occurred will not take away the injury itself, it could provide assistance with his or her care.
Source: WHTR-TV, "Teen overcomes disability to chase racing dreams," July 26, 2013