American Medical Association-AMA
United States of America

Every year in the United States approximately 12,000 babies are needlessly injured as they pass through their mother's birth canal. They sustain a complete or partial brachial plexus injury rendering at least one of their arms with paralysis. This injury is more frequent than Down's Syndrome, Spina Bifida, and Muscular Dystrophy. It is 10-20 times more common than Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and as common as Cerebral Palsy. Frequently children with these injuries may require multiple surgeries and/or lifelong therapeutic interventions to attain useful function.

Currently there are no protocols to track the incidence of this injury. Furthermore the patient is often provided inaccurate information on the prognosis and treatment options. Unfortunately, small windows of opportunity for a better recovery with proper therapeutic and/or surgical interventions are frequently missed.

The CDC has assigned a code for this injury in the International Calssification of Diseases (ICD-10-CM) as 767.6 under birth trauma (767).

It is time to implore the AMA to incorporate the recording of this injury as a stand-alone birth trauma as part of their tracking efforts.

Although no formal tracking system exists, it is estimated that approximately 12,000 babies (roughly 3/1000 births) each year in the United States will sustain brachial plexus injuries during the birthing process. Birthing professionals falsely believe that most of these children recover without intervention, yet many will require medical and/or therapeutic intervention and many will have measurable functional deficits. The result is an infant with an arm that does not have the same mobility, range, or strength, and often require surgery and/or have lifelong limitations.

Brachial Plexus injuries are more common than Down's syndrome. They are also more common than Muscular Dystrophy and Spina Bifida. Brachial Plexus injuries are as common as Cerebral Palsy and occur 10-20 times more frequently than spinal cord injuries.

Why aren't more people aware of this injury? The reasons are complicated and include the following:
* Since there is no mandatory reporting or tracking of this injury, the widely stated assumption that the injury is usually transient cannot be validated.
* Misperceptions exist regarding the life-long implications and disabilities associated with this injury.
* Birthing practitioners do not want to take responsibility for enabling these injuries through medicinalized labor protocols.
* Medical providers are resistant to the idea that this injury is often preventable.
* Birthing practitioners have succumb to the belief that brachial plexus injuries are an unpreventable and acceptable risk of vaginal childbirth.
* Patient's guardians often feel the injury is minimized by hospital personnel and are usually told the injury will go away after a few days or weeks.

Sponsored by United Brachial Plexus Network, a nonprofit 501(c)3

We the undersigned request regulations are placed regarding the prevention, care, and treatment of shoulder dystocia and ultimately brachial plexus injuries.

1. Birthing professionals need to have required continued educational units in this area.
2. Required reporting and documentation of all brachial plexus injuries sustained at birth.
a. Indicating which arm(s) were injured
b. What Obstetrical maneuvers where employed and accurate records of maternal position throughout labor and delivery.
3. Families must be provided with immediate referral to recognized Brachial Plexus Specialists.
4. A referral to Early Intervention services such that they receive adequate instructions in the care of their injured child.
5. Opportunity for enlisting the help of a social worker who will aid in finding appropriate services for the child and to monitor progress.

The Undersigned

The Prevent Brachial Plexus Injuries/Birth Injury petition to American Medical Association-AMA was written by Brenda Copeland-Moore and is in the category Health at GoPetition.