The first known description of neonatal brachial plexus palsy (BPP) dates from 1779 when Smellie reported the case of an infant with bilateral arm weakness that resolved spontaneously within a few days after birth. In the 1870s, both Duchenne and Erb described cases of upper trunk nerve injury, attributing the findings to traction on the upper trunk, now called Duchenne-Erb palsy. In 1885, Klumpke described injury of C8-T1 nerve roots and the nearby stellate ganglion that now bears her name.

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