Earlier in the week we talked about how brachial plexus injuries or shoulder dystocia can be caused by medical malpractice. Specifically, the injuries are caused by doctors using excessive force to remove children whose shoulders become stuck in the birth canal. After working with a medical malpractice attorney to file a lawsuit, parents whose children have Erb's palsy just have to hope that some medical study can help treat the symptoms.
Now, scientists are working on creating a video X-ray by collecting data from a 3D motion fluoroscopy. If this works, doctors who treat children with this serious birth injury may be able to replicate the data collection process on new patients to learn exactly how their shoulder blades move. This will be a huge benefit because doctors and surgeons will be able to compare shoulder movements prior to and following surgery, noting the improvements.
The process is still being worked out and it is not entirely clear when, if ever, physicians will be able to take these video X-rays. Part of the reason why it is still so slow-moving is because the 11 positions that are considered to be clinically relevant are being discovered through a process that may not always be accurate: touch.
If this procedure turns into a medical breakthrough, it could be of great use to people living with Erb's palsy. Until then, parents will need to bring their children to more conventional therapies and rehabilitation. If they were fortunate enough to win their medical malpractice lawsuits, these therapies should be paid for, if not, the parents may be facing high costs.
Source: University of Delaware, "Collaboration aims to develop clinically useful tool to shed light on birth injury," Diane Kukich, Feb. 27, 2013