An Erb’s palsy diagnosis may lead to concern for your child’s well-being. The relief you may feel upon hearing that the condition may be treatable may mix with anxiety about how you might cover the medical costs associated with treatment.
Your child’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis may have been avoidable if it was the result of the physician and medical team whom you trusted with a safe childbirth being negligent in their duties.
When a medical professional’s negligence results in injury, they may be held liable for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses suffered by the victim and their family. A Boca Raton, Florida Erb’s palsy lawyer from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to investigate your case and pursue compensation you may be entitled to
Call our team at (800) 222-9529 for a free case review.
For a free legal consultation with Boca Raton Erb's Palsy lawyer, call 1-800-222-9529
The Standard of Care Rule
Medical professionals, including obstetricians, delivery teams, and nurses, have a duty to meet a standard of care when treating their patients. In other words, they are required to perform their duties at the same level that the average medical provider in the same circumstances would perform them.
If any healthcare professional involved in your pregnancy failed to meet this standard of care, they may have acted negligently. If their negligence causes injury or harm, these professionals may be liable for the resulting damages.
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How Negligence May Cause Erb’s Palsy
To understand how a medical professional may have caused your child’s Erb’s palsy, you must first understand more about the condition itself.
Injury to the Brachial Plexus
Erb’s palsy in newborns is sometimes called neonatal brachial plexus palsy (NBPP).
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the shoulder that is responsible for carrying signals related to sensation and movement from the spinal cord to the arm and hand. When the upper region of brachial plexus nerves is damaged, the injury may result in a loss of mobility and sensation around the shoulder and arm, as well as loss of sensation. This condition is called Erb’s palsy.
How the Injury May Happen
Brachial plexus nerves may become damaged if they are compressed or stretched during childbirth. If the infant’s shoulder is forced down while their neck stretches up in the opposite direction, stretching of the nerves may occur. In some instances, the nerves may be stretched so much they are physically ripped from the spinal cord, resulting in severe conditions.
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This type of movement and corresponding injury may happen during difficult deliveries. The likelihood of a situation occurring in which the physician might attempt to maneuver the infant in an manner that could result in injury increases with risk factors such as:
- A larger-than-normal fetus
- A smaller-than-normal mother
- Breech (feet-first) delivery
- Shoulder dystocia (when one or both shoulders gets stuck inside the mother’s pelvis)
A capable medical team should know about these risk factors and be prepared to handle the consequences.
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Medical Negligence May Contribute to Erb’s Palsy
A medical professional’s negligence may manifest in many ways, with some examples including:
- Failure to perform an emergency Cesarean section (C-section)
- Substandard prenatal care, resulting in failure to diagnose or treat risk factors
- Excessive force applied to baby’s shoulder, neck, or head during delivery
- Failure to alert mother of risk factors and need for C-section delivery
- Failure to properly maneuver baby during delivery for safe passage through the birth canal
If an investigation of your prenatal care or delivery indicates that any of the above situations occurred, a lawyer may document the evidence for your claim against the at-fault party.
Diagnosing the Condition
If a medical professional involved in your child’s birth caused injury to the brachial plexus, there is still the matter of detection and diagnosis.
The sooner the condition is diagnosed in your child, the better their chances of improving with surgery. A failure to diagnose in a timely manner may also constitute negligence and be grounds for financial compensation.
If you believe a healthcare professional’s negligence caused or exacerbated your child’s Erb’s palsy, a Boca Raton Erb’s palsy lawyer may be able to represent you in your pursuit of compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch For
A baby may not be able to communicate some of the symptoms of Erb’s palsy, for example numbness and lack of sensation. This makes it all the more imperative that medical providers be attentive and watch for other signs indicating your child might be suffering from this condition.
The types of symptoms in Erb’s palsy cases depend upon which nerves were injured and how badly they were injured, but may include:
- Abnormal or weak reflexes in the affected arm
- Weak grip
- Low sensation or no sensation in affected shoulder or arm
- Abnormal positioning of affected arm
- No movement or decreased movement and weakness in affected arm
When an Erb’s palsy condition is most severe, it may cause temporary or permanent paralysis.
Possible Types of Recoverable Damages
Each personal injury and medical negligence case is unique. The circumstances for the injury and the resulting damages may vary from one instance to the next. As such it is nearly impossible to speculate what types and amounts of damages you might recover in your case until a lawyer fully investigates your claim.
Some types of damages that may be possible to recover in birth injury cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
This is just a sampling of the types of damages that may be recoverable in cases such as yours. Your demand letter to an at-fault party may include other types of damages.
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Each state has its own statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you have to take legal action after a personal injury. However each state may also have its own rules enabling you to toll (pause) the statute of limitations for birth injury cases. A Boca Raton Erb’s palsy lawyer may be able to inform you about the laws in Florida.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation.