Brachial Plexus Injury Prevention Program (BPIPP)
BPIPP advocates for the wellness and safety of all newborns during the delivery process. Through our coordinated efforts to inform, educate, and empower families, medical professionals, educational personnel, insurance providers, politicians, and others, we strive to promote a model of prevention that will reduce the incidence of preventable brachial plexus injuries.
We need to recruit dedicated individuals and professionals who share our vision to stop these debilitating birth injuries from occurring. Once we have established a cohesive unit, we will systematically work towards the employment of our strategies for prevention. The culmination of our efforts will be recognized when:
* These injuries are tracked on a national level
* The preventable nature of brachial plexus birth injuries is widely recognized, and
* Consistent, safe and effective protocols for handling shoulder dystocia are established and utilized across the nation, and therefore
* The number of obstetrical injuries is reduced dramatically.
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.
The facts however, are often very different from what is generally accepted and espoused by the medical community.
* The injury is often life-long. It may interfere with simple daily tasks and often causes physical and emotional pain.
* Injuries said to have "resolved" often leave the child with diminished range of motion and strength throughout his or her life.
* Often times the patient is given inaccurate information on the prognosis and treatment options. Unfortunately, opportunities for a better recovery with proper therapeutic and/or surgical interventions are often missed.
* This injury IS preventable and steps can be taken to reduce the incidence.
The Time is Now to spread the truth about Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Injuries.