Because Erb’s palsy only affects between 0.5 and 2.6 full-term babies per 1,000, this may not be a condition with which you as a new parent are familiar. If a doctor gives you this diagnosis, you may be somewhat confused as to what it means for your baby, both now and in the future.
Your level of confusion and frustration may arise after you learn that the injuries involved with Erb’s palsy often could have been prevented if medical personnel had provided a better level of care during the birthing process.
If you believe negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or another member of the birth team led to your baby’s diagnosis of Erb’s palsy, you have the right to seek damages in a birth injury lawsuit. As Montgomery Erb’s palsy lawyers, our team at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is ready to work on your behalf. Call us at (800) 222-9529 today for a free consultation.
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The Causes of Erb’s Palsy
For a baby, the development of Erb’s palsy typically is related to a difficult birthing process, where an injury occurs to the brachial plexus nerves located between the neck and shoulder. Occurrences during birth that can lead to an injury in the brachial plexus include:
- Breech birth: The baby is descending feet first in the birth canal, which can cause prolonged labor and a wedging of the baby’s upper body in the birth canal.
- High birth weight: The baby is an above-average size, potentially causing the baby’s shoulders to become wedged in the birth canal, leading to injury to the brachial plexus nerves.
- Long labor: The labor lasts longer than it should, which could lead to distress for the baby’s breathing, so the medical team attempts to rush the birthing process, potentially leading to an injury from pulling on the baby.
- Use of instruments: The use of instruments like forceps may have occurred improperly, leading to a twisting of the baby’s neck and shoulder area, causing injury to the brachial plexus nerves.
Adults and older children could develop Erb’s palsy too, nearly always related to some sort of trauma in the area of the brachial plexus nerve group. Things like a car accident or a bullet wound can lead to Erb’s palsy.
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Types of Nerve Injuries in Erb’s Palsy
According to Boston Children’s Hospital, four types of brachial plexus birth injuries could lead to the eventual diagnosis of Erb’s palsy. In a typical Erb’s palsy case, the injury will only occur on one side of the body.
Suffering a brachial plexus nerve injury in which the nerves end up stretching may lead to a mild case of Erb’s palsy. Having stretched nerves is one of the most common causes of Erb’s palsy in a newborn.
The stretched nerves are not torn, which often means the baby will not require surgery to heal from the condition. A doctor may prescribe a wait-and-see approach, expecting that the stretched nerves will heal on their own after a few weeks to a few months. The baby may undergo physical therapy to keep muscles and joints strong during the recovery period.
In a more serious case of Erb’s palsy, the brachial plexus nerves could have torn or ruptured in the area between the neck and the shoulder. The spinal cord is not affected.
In a particularly difficult birth process, torn or ruptured brachial plexus nerves may occur. The doctor may order an MRI or other tests to attempt to determine whether the nerves have been torn or stretched.
With torn brachial plexus nerves, the doctor is likely to recommend surgery. With surgery, it could take several months or years for doctors to know whether the surgery was fully successful.
When the nerve roots tear away from the spinal cord, this is an avulsion injury to the brachial plexus nerve that could lead to Erb’s palsy. An avulsion is an extremely serious injury that may never heal fully. Babies rarely suffer this type of injury during the birthing process.
Neuroma occurs after the brachial plexus nerve has tried to heal, but scar tissue has grown in the area. This scarring can cause problems with nerve function and may require surgical treatment. This injury, again, is not common in newborns.
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No matter how your baby suffered their injury during the birthing process that led to the diagnosis of Erb’s palsy, you have the right to seek compensation if you can prove someone on the medical team behaved negligently, leading to the injury.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group knows how to collect the facts in a case like this, determining exactly what happened and who is liable. By hiring a trusted Montgomery Erb’s palsy lawyer, you will protect your right to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of your injured newborn. We are ready to perform a free case review for you, so call us at (800) 222-9529 today.
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Understanding When the Statute of Limitations Applies
For birth injury cases, including those cases involving Erb’s palsy, each state, including Alabama, has its own rules regarding the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.
As part of our free consultation, we can help you determine whether your case fits within the statute of limitations for your state.
Let Us Project Your Right to Receive Compensation
If someone else’s negligence led to the injury to your baby during the birthing process, you have the right to try to seek compensation for things like doctor visits for treatment related to the injury, as well as for pain and suffering and emotional trauma for the family.
A team of Montgomery Erb’s palsy lawyers knows how to study the facts in a case like this, determining how the injury occurred and exactly who was at fault. We will study medical records and interview those who were involved, using those facts to strengthen your case.
As soon as you hire us, the attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group are ready to go to work for you. Call us at (800) 222-9529 today for a free review of your Erb’s palsy case.