After a lifetime of immobility, failed corrective surgery, and a lengthy fight with insurance companies, a Minnesota teen has become the first in her state to receive a robotic brachial plexus mobility device. Trinity Seiber suffered a catastrophic brachial plexus injury during birth but is making the most of life with her state-of-the-art robotic orthotic device.
Trinity’s Journey and Triumph
Trinity Seiber was one of the 2-3 people out of every 1,000 who suffer a brachial plexus injury during birth. Of that number, most babies eventually heal and regain full function. Unfortunately, Trinity’s injury was so severe as to cause permanent and complete loss of mobility in her left arm.
Her experience is very rare. Because of her catastrophic injuries, her treatment options were limited. Both Trinity and her mother were determined that the little girl should have the best shot at an independent life. Over nine years of her childhood, she traveled to specialists all over the country. All told, she had six surgeries that failed to restore mobility.
Trinity’s story is so remarkable because her brachial plexus injury was the worst case scenario. Her left arm was completely immobilized from her birth injury. Throughout her life of chronic pain, surgery, and disability Trinity remained positive. According to her mother, she started dreaming of a “bionic” limb when she was 12 or 13 years old. Little did she know her dream could become a reality thanks to the rapid advancements in brachial plexus mobility device technology.
In the wake of her many failed surgeries, Trinity independently researched a brachial plexus mobility device produced by the company Myomo. She took it upon herself to contact the manufacturer directly, and they agreed she would make an ideal candidate for the device. The Myomo brachial plexus mobility device is custom fitted for every user and uses cutting edge noninvasive sensors to respond to the patient’s electric muscle impulses.
The cost of the revolutionary arm was so high that participation from her insurance was a necessity. After an in initial insurance rejection, she made a heartfelt plea that the insurance company granted.
Now, Trinity is the proud owner of a brachial plexus mobility device that is a real-life “bionic limb”. Her device responds to her own electrical signals the way muscles respond to electric stimulus in the body. The results have been truly life-changing.
Though learning to use the device took some getting used to, for the first time in her life Trinity can open and close her left hand and raise her arm up and down. Her long journey towards self-sufficiency and mobility has been a smashing success.
As she becomes more confident using her brachial plexus mobility device, she will have options for independence that did not exist before. Ever positive, this young lady is looking forward to taking hold of her future and taking on the world in a way she never could before – with both hands.
Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries
Brachial plexus injuries are a rare birth injury, and few infants have been injured to the same extent as Trinity. However, a lesser degree of mobility loss is no less devastating for new parents.
The brachial plexus is a complex network of nerves located near the collarbone that is responsible for sending nerve impulses up the spine from the lower limbs and also from the brain to the upper extremities. During birth, the use of excessive force or use of forceps during delivery can stretch the neck area and damage the brachial plexus.
A brachial plexus injury usually manifests in varying degrees of sensation and mobility loss. Either the lower limbs or the arms can be affected, but immobility of the arms is the most likely complication. Children with a brachial plexus injury face repeated surgeries, inability to care for themselves, and chronic pain.
Considering a Brachial Plexus Mobility Device?
Brachial plexus injuries are commonly associated with birth injuries but can also be caused by:
- Sports injuries
- Automobile accidents
- Animal bites
- Puncture wounds
Any traumatic injury to the brachial plexus can cause loss of mobility and sensation. Most brachial plexus injury suffers can experience restoration or improvement of mobility by using a brachial plexus mobility device. There are several options on the market today, such as:
- Myomo/Myoelectronic Orthotics – This is the type of orthotic used for Trinity’s “bionic” limb. They are the only brachial plexus mobility devices on the market today that use a patient’s own electrical muscle impulses through non-invasive sensors to restore almost complete function and mobility.
- Daily-Wear Arm Slings – Recovery from a brachial plexus injury can be a long and slow process. During the period of intensive physical therapy, the shoulder muscles can be damaged from the weight of the immobile arm. A daily-wear sling helps to retain muscle tone for an overall more complete recovery.
- Athletic Arm Slings – Made by a few different manufacturers, these devices are custom-fit arm slings meant to support and restrain the immobile arm to allow the wearer to engage in sports or other physical activities without having to worry about their injured arm hindering their active pursuit.
- Adaptive Devices – For brachial plexus injury suffers who still have some mobility, large handled silverware, razors, or writing utensils will be easier to use. These devices enable the user to continue to build muscle and heal faster than without them.
- One-Handed Devices – Specialized products for one-handed use like one-handed belts can give the user the confidence of independence that so many patients with limited mobility crave.
If you or a loved one has experienced a brachial plexus injury and are considering a brachial plexus mobility device, treatment should begin as soon as possible for the best chances of recovery. According to the United Brachial Plexus Network, “lost time is lost muscle.” Specialized treatment can dramatically improve quality of life.
Liability and Brachial Plexus Injuries
If a brachial plexus injury was caused by the negligence of another person that person can and should be held liable for any suffering, treatment, and repeated surgeries the victim will endure.
Brachial plexus injury sufferers have rights and should not have to bear the financial burden of all the medical care they will need. An experienced birth injury attorney can help victims determine who is at fault and the most effective way to seek monetary compensation from the at-fault party or parties.
Contact a Brachial Plexus Injury Attorney
Don’t let someone else’s negligence eclipse your future. Recovering from a brachial plexus injury is enough work for one person. Contact the attorneys at Birth Injury Guide to let us share your burden. We will explore your case and seek financial compensation on your behalf. Financial compensation cannot restore damage to the brachial plexus, but it can cover the costs of treatment, including technologically advanced treatment options that otherwise may have been out of reach.
Call Birth Injury Guide at 1-877-415-6603, or contact us online to learn more about how we can help your family.