The most obvious symptom of Erb’s palsy in a newborn is a lack of movement in the affected shoulder and upper arm. An exam will show total or partial paralysis in the shoulder joint and deltoid, bicep, and brachialis muscles, as well as a loss of sensation in the area.
In children who do not experience a full recovery, there may be additional symptoms that include weakness in the affected arm, impaired growth of the arm, pain or discomfort, atrophy of the affected muscles, and issues with a range of motion.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Understanding Erb’s Palsy Risk Factors and Injury Causes
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus birth injury. The brachial plexus is a network of nerve fibers that connect the arms to the spinal cord. These nerves control sensation and movement for the shoulder, upper arm, elbow, lower arm, wrist, and hand. Erb’s palsy occurs because of damage to the nerves that control the shoulder and upper arm.
Many cases of Erb’s palsy are preventable if the doctor notes the risk factors for the condition. These risks could include:
- A baby with high birth weight, or a large baby with a mother who has a narrow pelvis
- Breech presentation
- Prolonged labor
Erb’s palsy can also occur when the infant’s shoulders become stuck in the birth canal. This condition requires the delivering doctor to use special techniques to free the newborn. When done incorrectly or with too much force, it can damage the nerves of the brachial plexus. Damage to these nerves immediately interrupts the ability of nerve signals to travel between the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. This injury cuts off any motor and sensory information, causing the before mentioned symptoms.
Birth Injury Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
Diagnosing Erb Duchenne Palsy and Monitoring Symptoms
Doctors or other medical care providers can often diagnose a newborn with Erb’s palsy quickly after birth. They have the training to recognize the classic sign of the condition, known as a waiter’s tip hand. This includes:
- An arm that hangs down from the shoulder with no flexion in the bicep or other muscle groups in the shoulder or upper arm
- Internal rotation of the forearm
- Flexed wrist and fingers
Further assessment of the infant will likely show little or no movement in the shoulder or upper arm and a lack of sensation in the affected area. The parts of the affected arm allow the doctor to diagnose Erb Duchenne palsy or another brachial plexus injury.
In most cases of Erb’s palsy, symptoms disappear on their own as the nerve heals. This recovery could take several months to two years. However, significant progress is often evident in the first month to two months. Your child’s doctor will likely want to see the baby regularly to re-examine them and assess their symptoms during this time.
You will likely also need to help your child with Erb’s palsy exercises or physical therapy exercises that help them maintain strength and range of motion in the arm.
Pursuing Legal Action Related to Your Child’s Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
If your child was born with symptoms of Erb’s palsy or another brachial plexus birth injury, you may have a medical malpractice case against the doctor or hospital. A birth injury lawyer who handles brachial plexus injury cases will likely review your case for free and explain if you have grounds to pursue compensation.
Your lawyer will help you build your case, and you may be able to recover damages that include:
- Past and future medical care costs related to the birth injury
- Physical and occupational therapy or rehabilitation expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs related to your child’s injury or treatment
- Pain and suffering damages
It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you learn about your child’s birth injury. There may be some advantages in waiting to determine the lasting impact of your child’s injuries, but there are also risks involved with waiting.
Each state has its own deadlines for taking legal action in this type of case. While some states allow families to toll the statute of limitations for birth injury cases, others do not allow as much time. For this reason, it is best to speak with a medical malpractice lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your state as soon as possible.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Get Help Today for Your Child’s Birth Injury
If your child was born with the symptoms of Erb’s palsy, you may have a valid birth injury medical malpractice case. Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help you with your child’s Erb’s palsy birth injury case. Let us schedule your free case review.
Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more.