Erb’s palsy most commonly occurs as a result of a preventable birth injury. When a doctor or other medical care provider pulls on the baby with excessive force or using an improper technique while the baby is in the birth canal, it can cause injury to the nerves of the brachial plexus.
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that connect the hands, arms, and shoulders with the spinal cord. The nerves affected in the brachial plexus injury, known as Erb’s palsy, control movement and sensation in the shoulder and upper arm.
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Erb’s Palsy Is the Most Common Type of Brachial Plexus Injury
Erb’s palsy affects the upper nerves of the brachial plexus and is the most common type of brachial plexus injury. Most brachial plexus injuries will heal on their own within a few months, although doctors generally prescribe in-home physical therapy to help the baby retain strength and range of motion until they heal.
Between 80 to 96 percent of babies who receive an Erb’s palsy diagnosis have a complete recovery. They generally exhibit some recovery within a few weeks of birth. The remaining babies may recover only partial feeling or movement. Some may not recover at all on their own and may need surgery to allow them any movement or sensation in the affected shoulder and upper arm.
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Medical Care Providers Could Prevent Many Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is frequently a preventable birth injury. Doctors or other medical care providers must use careful, skilled techniques to guide the baby through the birth canal if the delivery stalls or the baby becomes stuck. Using too much force, tugging improperly, or failing to use approved techniques can cause Erb’s palsy, other brachial plexus injuries, and more serious birth injuries.
In addition to improper technique or force, there are other ways a doctor or other medical professional can cause brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s palsy. In some cases, doctors try to deliver a baby vaginally who is too large for the mother’s build, or there are other indications that a cesarean section (c-section) would be more appropriate.
In other cases, doctors opt to use forceps or a vacuum extractor device to help deliver the baby, which can cause Erb’s palsy or other birth injuries.
Erb’s Palsy May Support a Valid Medical Malpractice Birth Injury Case
If you and your attorney can uncover evidence to prove that a doctor or other medical care provider caused your child’s Erb’s palsy–or failed to prevent the injury–you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the injuries your child suffered, as well as the expenses you incurred as a result.
Your lawyer will help you build your case based on your state’s rules for pursuing damages through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Often this requires calling in a medical expert witness who can:
- Verify that medical negligence occurred
- Explain what most medical care professionals would have done
- Discuss how your doctor’s actions caused your child’s injuries
Along with other evidence such as your child’s medical records and proof of your losses, the expert’s opinion will help prove your case to the doctor or hospital’s insurer or the judge and jury during trial.
Your attorney will present the evidence to prove medical malpractice in addition to the evidence that proves your child’s injuries, expenses, and losses. They will represent your family’s best interests throughout the claims process and can take legal action on your behalf when necessary.
There are time limits on filing a lawsuit in this type of case. Each state has its own statute of limitations and its own rules for tolling the statute of limitations when the victim is an infant. Your attorney will be familiar with the laws in your state and can help you meet this deadline when possible.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney Today
If your child suffered a birth injury and received an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, you may be able to pursue compensation for your child’s medical care, physical and occupational therapy, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and more. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to get help today.
We will discuss your case with you and help you understand your options for taking the next step to build a case and pursue the payout your family deserves. Compensation may help you recoup your losses or pay for your child’s ongoing and future care if they suffered lasting damage because of their birth injury.
Call (800) 222-9529 now to talk to a member of our team about your child’s Erb’s palsy.