Nerves travel from the brain to the spine and then branch out to the entire body. Any damage to any nerve or even a section of a nerve can inhibit the ability of nerve impulses and messages to travel to and from the brain to the part of the body controlled by the damaged nerve. The nerves that control the shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and fingers travel from the brain to the spine and converge in the neck before splitting up to terminal points in the arm.
When these nerves converge in the neck, they form a nerve bundle called the brachial plexus. Any damage to the brachial plexus can cause issues with growth, sensation, and strength in parts of the arm depending on how badly and specifically which part of the brachial plexus was injured. Some forms of injury lead to specific forms of weakness or paralysis that are collectively referred to as Erb’s palsy. If your child has issues with his or her hands, arms, or problems with limb movement of any sort, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529.
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Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Nerve damage of any type, at any time, can lead to Erb’s palsy. Sports injuries, vehicle accidents, slips and falls, child abuse, violence, and so many other activities can all lead to nerve damage in the neck and sensory issues in the arm. Grownups who participate in sports may have experienced an electrical or burning sensation shooting down the arm. This can happen if nerves in the neck are pinched, stretched, twisted, or squeezed. When it happens during sports and only to a mild degree, the pain usually dissipates within minutes or hours.
In newborns and young infants, however, the damage can be much more serious. There are many ways a child can suffer nerve damage before, during, or soon after delivery. If the child grows too large–this can happen if he or she develops gestational diabetes–then he or she may become stuck inside the mother. Becoming stuck behind the mother’s pelvis is a condition called shoulder dystocia. It happens when a child is too large to pass through the mother and its head may exit the vagina whilst the shoulders are still stuck behind.
When this happens, the delivery team may be forced to pull on the baby–either its hands or arms if the hands or arms protrude from the mother, or on the head. When the head is pulled, twisted, prodded, or pushed, this can cause the head-shoulder interval which is the gap between the head and the shoulder–to become unnaturally elongated. This can cause the nerves in the neck and the brachial plexus to become damaged.
Depending on the severity of the case, nerves can be detached from the spine, torn along the nerve, stretched, or pinched. Detached nerves are called avulsions and torn nerves are called ruptures. These cases may require surgery for correction. Stretched nerves are called neuropraxia and nerves can become pinched by scabs or connective tissue that forms after damaged nerves heal. This is called a neuroma. It may require surgery or may heal on its own.
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For the diagnosis and treatment of Erb’s palsy, what your child’s doctor recommends will depend on where, how, and to what degree the brachial plexus was injured. Mild cases can recover with basic therapies such as stretching exercises, flexibility movements, and occupational therapy to help the patient overcome the limited fine motor skills associated with the condition. Serious cases may require surgery. Nerve grafts, decompression procedures, and nerve transfers can all be used to help an affected target area recover from injury.
Medications and electrical stimulation can also be used, and these are less invasive forms of treatment. However, some of these treatments are very niche and may or may not be available in your area. Contact us to learn more about connecting with the care and treatment centers that can help your child recover.
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So where does negligence come into the picture?
If the medical team that delivered your child could have but did not perform tests, procedures, screenings, or make preparations that would have prepared them for a birth complication or helped your child avoid sustaining an injury, they may be guilty of negligence and can potentially be held liable for any damages that result.
You need to connect the erroneous actions, the inexperience, the negligence, omissions, the dangerous inaction, or the incompetence of a medical team to specific injuries and then connect those injuries to specific costs to recover compensation and damages for your losses. This is what an experienced birth injury lawyer can help you do and this is what the Birth Injury Lawyers Groups does for our clients. We collect medical evidence and put together a claim that credibly proves that you are owed damages for actions or omissions that were preventable.
In cases where the cause of your child’s injuries were not preventable, as happens with cases involving genetic mutations or premature delivery, is it much harder to prove error or negligence on the part of the medical team, but we can evaluate your case once we have an opportunity to speak with you.
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Call Us Today
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group now at (800) 222-9529 to learn more. We are here to help you understand what you are faced with, what your rights are, what you need to do to file a claim, and what you can expect along the way. We will keep you updated every step of the way and you have the full authority to accept or refuse a settlement if one is made by the at-fault party or parties identified in your claim.
We collect legal fees only when you win. This is known as no win, no fee services. It ensures you have nothing to lose but potentially a damages payout to gain so call us today.