A bundle of nerves in the neck called the brachial plexus controls the shoulder and arms. Damage to this nerve system can lead to Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is a neuromuscular illness that is characterized by muscle weakness, limited sensation in the affected arm, and even paralysis in parts or all of the affected arm. Treatments include physical therapy, surgical procedures, medication, and the use of assistive devices.
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The Legal View of Erb’s Palsy Cases
As outlined above, physical injuries can occur in many ways. However, when it comes to health care services and delivery cases, the stakes are higher, as are the expectations of professionalism and competence of the medical care team in question. In legal terms, doctors have a duty of care to their patients. This means they are expected to provide their patients with treatment that is in line with known and accepted best practices and expectations.
If your child’s doctor or care team makes delivery room errors that lead to an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, if they fail to perform tests that they should have performed, or if they do not have the experience to use certain types of equipment and cause your child harm as a result, it is possible that they can be held negligent and liable.
Proving negligence on the basis of not meeting the minimum level of the duty of care, however, requires you to first establish that the delivery team owed you a duty of care. If they did, you need to show that that duty of care was breached in some way. Finally, if you can prove a breach in the duty of care, you need to show how that breach led to an injury.
Doing this is not impossible, but it requires an understanding of medical malpractice law, a network of professionals who can obtain and then evaluate medical records, injuries, and diagnostic tests, and an understanding of the law so you can determine whether or not you have a case for medical malpractice.
An Elizabeth cerebral palsy lawyer can help you evaluate the extent of the damages you suffered and file a claim within the prescribed timeline and with the right courts on your behalf so that you can pursue any compensation to which you may be entitled.
These are the services that we provide at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. If your child or that of a loved one suffered a birth injury or has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, give our offices a call at (800) 222-9529. We provide obligation-free case evaluations and consultations at no upfront cost, and you pay for legal services only if you win a settlement or a damages payout. Call now to get started.
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Causes and Risk Factors of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy can develop via stretching, tearing, or detachment of parts of the brachial plexus from the spine. If a baby is too large, if the mother does not dilate enough, or if the delivery team incorrectly administers certain medications, birth complications can occur, and a baby may become stuck in the womb. In an attempt to quickly deliver the baby and avoid issues such as hypoxia, the delivery team may resort to the use of assistive devices such as vacuum extractors or forceps to remove the baby from the mother before it is too late.
These devices use pressure to extract the unborn infant from the mother, and if they are incorrectly used, it may result in overstretching of the neck or shoulders of the baby or twisting of the arm. Extreme pressure and unnatural bodily contortions can stretch, tear, or bruise the baby’s tenuous nerves, leading to the issues and complications that are characterized as Erb’s palsy. Abnormally large babies, complicated labor, and breech births raise the risk and incidence rate of a child suffering a birth injury and developing Erb’s palsy.
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Treating Erb’s Palsy
If they are mild, brachial plexus injuries can recover on their own over time. Cases involving severe damage, however, can potentially lead to long-term or permanent disability. This often happens in cases when nerves in the brachial plexus are torn or ripped out from their spinal roots.
Such cases may require a nerve graft, in which a healthy section of nerve is used to bypass an injured nerve to improve sensation in the target area, or nerve and muscle transfers, which involve implanting healthy nerves and muscles to the target area to help the patient generate strength and sensation in the affected areas of his or her limbs.
It will come as no surprise that such treatments can be very expensive, especially since they are invasive and require highly specialized tools and expertise to perform. Even if your child suffers from a mild case of Erb’s palsy, the costs of basic physiotherapy, medications, assistive devices, and doctor’s visits can quickly add up and negatively impact your financial well-being.
If you believe that your child’s doctor or members of his or her medical staff contributed to, caused, or aggravated birth injuries sustained by your child, our Elizabeth cerebral palsy lawyers are here to help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about how to file a claim, how damages are quantified, the types of evidence we will help you collect in support of your case, and important timelines to keep track of while your case is pending. Do not delay and call now.