If a baby’s body is stretched during delivery, the nerves of the brachial plexus can sustain damage. This bundle of nerves connects the shoulder and neck, and an injury here can result in Erb’s palsy, a condition where the shoulder and upper arm can be weak or paralyzed.
If a doctor’s negligence caused your child’s Erb’s palsy, you might be able to recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Your family could recover compensation for medical bills, treatment, pain and suffering, and more.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group represents Des Moines families in Erb’s palsy medical malpractice cases. Call our firm today at (800) 222-9529 for a free evaluation.
For a free legal consultation with Des Moines Erb's Palsy lawyer, call 1-800-222-9529
An Overview of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy can occur in an infant if their arms, neck, shoulder, or head gets stretched during the birth process. This can injure the brachial plexus nerves connecting the shoulder to the arm.
Our nerves carry instructions from the brain throughout the body, telling body parts when and how to function. They also send feedback from the body back to the brain to interpret sensations. When nerves get damaged, the individual may not be able to move the affected body part or perform an essential function. They may also lose sensation in the affected areas. Both of these effects are possible in the arm or hand of a child with Erb’s palsy.
Erb’s Palsy Treatment
If a doctor diagnoses your child with Erb’s palsy, they will recommend a treatment based on the severity of the injury. A mild case of Erb’s palsy may just require physical therapy. If the injury appears severe or does not improve after a month or two of physical therapy, a doctor may recommend surgery.
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Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
The indications of this brachial plexus injury will depend on the severity of the damage. Complicating matters is the fact that a newborn cannot verbalize what they are feeling.
Observable signs of Erb’s palsy in your child may include an inability to move an arm or grip objects. You may notice a difference between the control of the injured arm versus the healthy arm. Because of these subtle signs, some brachial plexus injuries in newborns do not get diagnosed for weeks, months, or longer.
If you suspect your child may be displaying symptoms of Erb’s palsy, notify a doctor immediately for an evaluation.
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Causes of Erb’s Palsy and Medical Malpractice
A newborn can suffer Erb’s palsy injuries during a difficult birth in situations due to:
- Large birth weight: the larger a baby is, the more likely it is to get wedged in the birth canal.
- Breech presentation: when the baby is “upside down,” with the head being the last part to get delivered rather than the first, the arms can get stretched or the shoulders caught in the birth canal.
- Prolonged labor: a healthcare provider may try to pull a baby out during a long labor and delivery, out of concern that the infant might not be getting enough oxygen. In an urgent situation, an arm or shoulder can be pulled in a way that results in nerve damage.
In many cases, if a doctor anticipates a difficult birth, they may order a Cesarean section (C-section) birth as a safer alternative. If you suspect that malpractice played a part, consider finding out how a Des Moines Erb’s palsy lawyer can help.
When Medical Malpractice is the Cause
Although some instances of Erb’s palsy are unavoidable, other times this condition can be caused needlessly by a negligent doctor’s actions or lack of action. If this occurs, the doctor could be legally liable for the birth injuries your child received.
Using excessive force, either manually or with a birth assistance tool like forceps or a vacuum extraction device, is one example of negligent care. Similarly, if a doctor fails to take proper screenings of the child’s birth size, the mother’s pelvis, or other factors that can indicate a difficult delivery, they could miss an opportunity for a safer alternative via a C-section.
If you can prove that your doctor’s actions fell below a reasonable standard of care and that another doctor in the same position would have acted differently, your doctor may be deemed negligent and liable for your damages in a medical malpractice case.
If your case requires testimony from a medical expert to establish these facts, a Des Moines Erb’s palsy lawyer can produce such evidence. Call (800) 222-9529 to get a no-cost case evaluation.
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Compensation in an Erb’s Palsy Case
If the doctor who caused your child’s Erb’s palsy is deemed negligent, you may be able to recover compensation for damages such as:
- Cost of medical treatment deemed negligent
- Costs of diagnosing and treating your child’s Erb’s palsy
- The estimated future costs of your child’s treatments
- Pain and suffering
The amount of compensation available to your family may depend on circumstances like the severity of the injury, the permanence of the harm, and any other financial impacts it has caused.
A Des Moines Erb’s Palsy Lawyer Can Help My Case
If a doctor’s negligence caused your child’s Erb’s palsy in Des Moines, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to represent you in a medical malpractice suit to recover compensation.
Iowa limits the amount of time you have to bring legal action for medical malpractice, a law known as the statute of limitations. We can discuss what the statute of limitations on your case is when you contact our firm. Do not delay. If you miss this deadline, you could forever lose the right to pursue money damages for your losses.
For a free case review, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no up-front costs to secure our representation.