If your baby is having difficulty moving his or her arm in the first few days after birth, you may be concerned about what is happening. Upon letting the doctor know about the symptoms, the doctor may tell you he suspects Erb’s palsy.
This diagnosis may be confusing for you, as the doctor caring for you during your pregnancy did not bring this up as a possibility. Erb’s palsy is not a birth defect. Instead, it is an injury that may happen to the baby during delivery, often because of negligence on behalf of the medical personnel who were caring for the mother and baby.
If you believe you are eligible to bring a lawsuit on behalf of your baby and family because of the negligence of doctors or nurses in the delivery room, consider contacting an Olathe Erb’s palsy lawyer. We are ready to stand by your side throughout the process. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 as soon as possible for a free consultation.
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Erb’s Palsy as a Case of Malpractice
Certainly, the birth of a baby is a complex process. Doctors and nurses must work in tandem, communicating effectively to ensure a smooth delivery and to maintain the health of both the mother and the newborn.
Sometimes, this does not happen, and someone in the delivery room makes an error. If the mistake was preventable, a case of malpractice may have occurred.
When Erb’s palsy occurs in a baby, it may have been prevented with the proper techniques on behalf of the doctors.
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How Erb’s Palsy Occurs
Erb’s palsy is an injury that occurs to the brachial plexus group of nerves that exists between the neck and shoulder on both sides of the body. Approximately one to two babies out of 1,000 births suffer from Erb’s palsy.
There are multiple reasons your baby suffers a brachial plexus injury and then shows the symptoms of Erb’s palsy after birth:
- High birth weight: the baby is too large to fit through the mother’s birth canal easily, potentially causing the baby’s shoulders to become lodged, stretching or tearing the brachial plexus nerves during delivery.
- Breech birth: the baby is born feet first instead of head first, which can lead to the doctors having to twist the baby to try to accelerate the birth, leading to an injury in the brachial plexus nerves.
- Prolonged birth: the baby’s birth is taking longer than it should, leading the doctors to try to help the baby through the birth canal, possibly causing a stretching or tearing of the brachial plexus nerves.
- Trauma: the baby suffers a trauma during the delivery or immediately afterward, leading to an injury in the brachial plexus nerves.
- Past cases of Erb’s palsy: the mother had a baby previously who suffered from Erb’s palsy.
- Use of instruments: the doctor or nurses must use instruments, such as a vacuum or forceps, to aid in the birth.
As an Olathe Erb’s palsy lawyer, we know how to apply the facts in the case to determine whether negligence occurred in your baby’s birth. We will work tirelessly on your behalf to help you receive an agreeable settlement. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free case review.
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Signs of Erb’s Palsy
If the birth process was especially difficult for you and the baby, the doctor should be on the lookout for the possibility of Erb’s palsy. There are some common symptoms that your baby suffered a brachial plexus injury and may have Erb’s palsy, including:
- Weakness: the baby has difficulty lifting his or her hand to the mouth.
- Paralysis: the baby cannot move the upper arm at all.
- Lack of sensation: the baby has a lack of feeling in the upper arm and shoulder areas.
- Strange positioning of the arm: a baby with Erb’s palsy will hold the arm unnaturally against the body with an odd bending of the elbow.
Understand that Erb’s palsy typically will only affect one side of the body. Occasionally, it affects both shoulders, but this is rare. An affliction in both shoulders could indicate some other type of illness is occurring.
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Treating Erb’s Palsy
In the majority of cases of Erb’s palsy in a baby, the symptoms will clear up on their own with minimal or no therapy on the part of the doctor. Some of the treatments the doctor may try include:
- Therapy: the doctor suggests physical therapy or massage therapy to help the arm maintain its range of motion and strength while giving the nerves time to heal.
- Surgery: the doctor may perform microsurgery on the nerve group, hoping to repair a minor or major tear in the nerves, allowing them to heal over several months.
The doctor usually chooses surgery only if the therapy does not work. If your doctor recommends surgery, it should occur before the child reaches six months of age. It could take several months to a few years before doctors can determine whether the surgery worked as expected.
Let an Olathe Erb’s Palsy Lawyer Represent Your Interests
We take pride in defending the rights of those who have suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another party. At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we know how to negotiate with insurance companies to help our clients receive an agreeable settlement in a birth injury case like this.
Ideally, your baby’s case of Erb’s palsy will heal on its own within a few weeks or months, leaving no lasting problems. However, some cases of Erb’s palsy can cause symptoms that linger for years, potentially never healing properly. If this has happened to you and your family, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and possibly more.
With an Olathe Erb’s palsy lawyer negotiating on your behalf, you will have more time to spend with your family and caring for your newborn. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you will not pay up-front fees. Our fees come from the negotiated settlement or court award. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free case evaluation.