Although Erb’s palsy is a relatively rare condition in a live birth in the United States, it does occur frequently enough that parents and doctors should be on the lookout for it, especially after a difficult delivery.
If you believe a doctor’s negligence led to the formation of Erb’s palsy, or if the doctor did not catch the condition quickly enough, you may have the ability to bring a malpractice lawsuit against medical personnel. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about how a Topeka Erb’s palsy lawyer can help you.
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Diagnosing Erb’s Palsy
Because recognizing Erb’s palsy as early as possible is so important, you should watch your baby’s development over the first few days for possible signs of Erb’s palsy.
When Erb’s palsy occurs, the baby has suffered a brachial plexus injury between the shoulder and the neck. These nerves control movement in the arm and shoulder areas. Erb’s palsy affects the upper arm and shoulder, while Klumpke’s palsy affects the forearm, wrist, and hand.
If you notice symptoms, you should notify the doctor as quickly as possible. Because you spend more time with the baby than the doctor does, you may notice these signs first. The symptoms of Erb’s palsy include:
- Numbness: an injury to the brachial plexus nerves causes numbness in the upper arm and shoulder area.
- Weakness: the baby may struggle to move the shoulder or lift the hand to the mouth because of weakness in the upper arm.
- Paralysis: the baby cannot move the shoulder or upper arm at all.
Diagnosing a Brachial Plexus Injury
A doctor will look for the symptoms listed here if he or she suspects Erb’s palsy. This affliction most frequently occurs on one side of the body and not the other, which is another clue doctors will use.
To confirm the diagnosis of a brachial plexus injury, the doctor may order some imaging tests, including:
- X-ray: the image of the neck and shoulder areas may show signs of Erb’s palsy.
- MRI or CT: the scans can show specific damage to the brachial plexus nerves.
The doctor also may order some tests, including a nerve conduction test, to determine whether the brachial plexus nerves are functioning as they should.
For a free review of your case, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. A Topeka Erb’s palsy lawyer will know how to review the facts in the case to determine the kinds of damages to which your family may be entitled.
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Long-Term Problems With Erb’s Palsy
Although the treatment for Erb’s palsy is often successful, resulting in a full recovery, occasionally the symptoms can linger, causing problems in the future as the child ages. Some of the potential long-term problems with brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s palsy include:
- Pain: the brachial plexus nerves do not fully heal or have the formation of scar tissue, leading to chronic pain in the shoulder and upper chest.
- Numbness and tingling: the nerves do not heal properly, leading to regular or occasional numbness and tingling in the shoulder and upper chest areas.
- Weakness: the lack of strength in the shoulder and upper arm does not alleviate as the child ages.
- Muscle atrophy: the muscles in the shoulder and upper arm do not fully recover, causing a physical weakness and visually smaller upper arm muscles.
- Stiff joints: the nerve problems early in life leave the joints in the shoulder and elbow inelastic.
If you are concerned that the Erb’s palsy symptoms in your baby may not fully heal, you have the right to seek compensation for the pain and suffering and medical bills that the baby currently has and potentially will have.
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The Baby’s Pain With Erb’s Palsy
Because the newborn cannot speak or clearly express himself or herself, it can be difficult to determine just how much pain the baby is experiencing with Erb’s palsy. Babies’ nerves do not function in the same way as older children or adults, so babies do not feel pain in the same way as older people do.
Instead of intense pain, it is far more likely the baby may have some uncomfortable numbness in the shoulder and upper chest area when suffering from Erb’s palsy. A doctor may test for numbness by applying cold or warm items to the area, measuring how much of a reaction the baby has to these temperature changes on the skin.
Alleviating Pain in the Joints
Sometimes, the baby may have pain in the upper arm and elbow joints with Erb’s palsy, because the joints become stiff when the baby cannot move them on his or her own.
A doctor may recommend physical therapy for the baby, which allows the joints to move regularly and remain flexible, eliminating discomfort from stiff joints.
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Pay Attention to the Statute of Limitations
If you are considering bringing a case against the doctor after your newborn’s diagnosis of Erb’s palsy, understand that you do have to act before the statute of limitations expires. Every state, including Kansas, follows a statute of limitations.
Your Topeka Erb’s palsy lawyer will know how the statute of limitations works in your state, and they are ready to stand up for your right to seek compensation. They understand how insurance companies work in cases like this and are proud to help victims of medical malpractice.
We work on a contingency-fee-basis in a birth injury lawsuit, which means we do not charge any fees upfront. Our payment will come out of the amount that you receive after we reach an agreeable settlement to the case. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 today for a free case review.