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Clavicle fractures and how they affect newborns

When babies are born, there are some injuries that are expected, such as clavicle fractures. While not all broken bones are a result of negligence, some may be, particularly if tools are used to remove the child from the birth canal.

How do clavicle fractures take place?

The break occurs when a child gets stuck during delivery or is larger than usual in the birth canal, resulting in extra tension. If doctors have to use tools to help remove the child, the fracture can occur at that point.

Will you recognize the symptoms of a clavicle fracture?

Newborns who are fussy or who cry a lot are more likely to have suffered from a clavicle fracture if that fussiness presents when the infant moves the arm on the side of the fracture. This is particularly obvious if the child cries when you pick him or her up under the arms, which puts pressure on the clavicle. You may also feel a bump on the point of the fracture, which indicates that the bone is healing.

Are there complications a doctor should look for when a baby breaks his or her clavicle?

Yes, since the fracture could be a sign of a brachial plexus injury. This is an injury that results when the nerves of the arm are damaged. Children with that nerve damage could be unable to move the arm on the side of the injury until the nerve heals, or the damage could be permanent.

Children who suffer permanent injuries from doctors waiting too long to order a cesarean section or due to using too much force during delivery may need ongoing medical care, which may be covered through an award via a medical malpractice case.

Source: Nationwide Children's Hospital, "Newborn Clavicle Fractures," accessed Sep. 13, 2016

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