It is possible that your child’s Erb’s Palsy could have been prevented if medical malpractice occurred during birth.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits
Erb’s Palsy is generally seen as an avoidable injury. The condition causes nerve damage and disrupts mobility, and generally occurs during delivery when a baby’s neck is unnaturally stretched as its head and shoulders go through the birth canal. Erb’s Palsy may also occur if there is trauma to the neck during the first few months of life.
During delivery, your healthcare providers should be aware of the risk factors associated with Erb’s Palsy and take steps to prevent unnatural stretching of the infant’s neck during birth. If your doctor did not take appropriate action to mitigate the risk of Erb’s Palsy during birth, they may be guilty of medical malpractice and liable for your child’s injuries.
Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
Parents should be on the lookout for the following indicators of Erb’s Palsy, which may be present if the child:
- Has difficulty and pain when moving their arm;
- Keeps their arm bent at the elbow and held against their body;
- Has problems gripping toys or objects; and,
- Is unable to make a fist on one side.
Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s Palsy is usually the result of a problem with the positioning of the baby during delivery. Prenatal visits to the doctor can help assess the baby’s size and position in the womb and possibly prevent this condition from occurring. Doctors may suggest a C-section if they suspect that the baby’s birth may be difficult. Other delivery situations that could result in Erb’s Palsy include the use of vacuum extraction forceps during delivery.
Erb’s Palsy is more common in infants with a high birth weight, mothers who have smaller body types, and mothers who have gained a significant amount of weight during their pregnancies. It is also seen more often during:
- Breech births;
- Difficult labor, especially if the second stage is longer than an hour; and,
- Delivery where there is excessive pulling of the baby’s shoulders.
There are steps that medical professionals can take to reduce the risk of Erb’s Palsy. If these steps were not taken, you may be able to demonstrate that your child’s condition could have been avoided had the delivery team not been negligent.
Types of Erb’s Palsy
There are four basic types of Erb’s Palsy, including:
- Neurapraxia: This is the most common form of Erb’s Palsy. It can heal on its own in about three months when the stretched nerve goes back to its original position.
- Neuroma: With a neuroma, the damage from a stretched nerve will leave scar tissue. The nerve will heal, but it is not possible to fully recover so the child may need surgery or physical therapy afterward.
- Rupture: A rupture tears the nerve rather than stretches it and can only be repaired by a doctor who grafts another nerve from a muscle in the baby’s body to give the child some feeling and flexibility back.
- Avulsion: This is the most dangerous type of Erb’s Palsy. It occurs when the nerve is completely torn away from the spinal cord and cannot be reattached. It is possible for children to regain some motion in their arm after a surgical grafting procedure.
Negligence and the Standard of Care
If your healthcare provider acted in a negligent manner or did not provide the appropriate standard of care, parents or legal guardians have the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
Your Erb’s Palsy compensation claim may cover economic damages such as medication, physical and occupational therapy, surgery, medication, doctor’s appointments, and lost wages. The claim may also cover physical and emotional pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment in life, but only in some states.
What to Do If You Are Unsure If Your Baby’s Erb’s Palsy Was Caused by Medical Malpractice
The most common reasons why Erb’s Palsy can be the result of medical negligence include:
- The doctor’s failure to monitor for signs of fetal distress;
- The doctor pulling on the baby’s arms too forcefully;
- The doctor failing to do an emergency C-section in a difficult delivery situation; and
- The doctor using tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extraction tool, improperly.
Call Us to Learn More
If your child is showing symptoms of Erb’s Palsy and you believe that you did not receive the appropriate standard of care before and during your child’s birth, we may be able to help. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at 1-800-222-9529. We can help you determine if your child’s Erb’s Palsy could have been prevented and was the result of medical negligence or malpractice. If we find that this is the case, we can also connect you with a birth injury lawyer in your state who can help you further.