Erb’s palsy is a common birth injury. It is defined as a neurological disorder that impacts the arm between the shoulder and hand. Children who suffer from Erb’s palsy tend to experience weakness and sensory issues in the arm. Cases involving serious nerve damage can affect muscle development and even bone development in the arm, leading to contractures and stunted presentation of the arm. These symptoms can pose serious health issues to the patient, especially an infant or a young child who is unable to cope with this type of incapacitation.
The good news, however, is that most Erb’s palsy cases recover naturally over time. Upwards of 95% of all cases regain the majority of their motor and sensory functions in the affected arm within a few months. The remainder may require longer-term therapy or surgery to help the nerves regenerate and heal. At the Birth Injury Lawyer Group, we help families work around the challenges of handling birth injuries and conditions such as Erb’s palsy, so call us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation about how to manage your child’s care by calling (800) 222-9529.
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Despite extensive checks and balances to ensure that only the best, most highly-skilled, and most competent doctors and healthcare practitioners are allowed to treat patients and perform medical procedures, inadvertent errors happen all the time. Administrative errors, mistakes in reading reports or administering drugs, doctor inattention or distraction, and decision-making errors can all lead to an injury in an instant. When these injuries occur to the fragile and developing body of an infant or a newborn, the effects can be devastating and long-lasting.
There are many ways a newborn can suffer a birth injury. A doctor may make a mistake performing a procedure and my twist or stretch the baby’s neck in the process. This can lead to ruptures and tearing of the brachial plexus, which is the bundle of nerves that is responsible, in part, for controlling sensation and movement in the arm. It is also possible that the medical team incorrectly reads test results or fails to perform tests that would have identified a birth defect or complication. In other cases, a simple lack of experience can lead to an injury.
If any of the above occur during delivery, the mother and the baby are the ones to sustain harm. A lawyer can help you determine who was responsible for your injuries and how much you should seek in compensation. Doing this will involve interviewing the delivery team, collecting proof of injuries and damages, filing a malpractice claim, and negotiating with insurance agents and hospital or care facility representatives. An empathetic and understanding lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can do this on your behalf and guide you throughout this process.
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Types and Symptoms of Nerve Damage
There are varying degrees of nerve damage that can cause Erb’s palsy. Each category of damage correlates with a different set of symptoms. Mild nerve injuries involving stretching of the nerves in the neck are called neuropraxia. In adults, it manifests as a burning or electrical sensation that shoots down the arm. In newborns, neuropraxia injuries are usually mild and the baby can recover by the time he or she is between three and six months old.
Ruptures occur when a nerve tears somewhere along the nerve fiber. This can be painful and can lead to a loss of sensation in the affected area or an inability to move the affected area in certain ways. For example, tears in nerves that stem from spinal cord section C7 can lead to sensory issues in the fingers, making it difficult to perform fine motor movements such as writing or carrying a spoon to the mouth. Gross motor functions such as gripping a spoon and putting food into a plate may not be affected. Ruptures often require surgery for correction.
The third category of nerve damage is an avulsion. This is when a nerve becomes detached from its roots in the spine. This is the most serious category of nerve damage and is not only painful but will likely require surgery for correction. Both rupture, as well as avulsion cases, can be treated by surgery followed by physical or occupational therapy. Treatments can last a few months or several years, depending on the patient’s response to treatment and progress over time.
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Legal Assistance for Birth Injuries
The most important thing for you to do after your child suffers a birth injury or is diagnosed with Erb’s palsy is to seek a formal diagnosis and classification of the condition he or she suffers from and initiate treatments. Focusing on the care and rehabilitation of your child in the immediate aftermath of the injury will give him or her the best chances of making a complete recovery. However, you must also consider the possibility that your child was injured by preventable causes. There may be as yet undiagnosed health issues lingering as well.
Ailments that go untreated can have serious implications over the long run, and you must be prepared to pay the costs of treatment and testing to make sure your child does not unnecessarily suffer from an issue that could have been addressed. This is why you must speak with a legal professional. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group, with extensive experience handling birth injuries and malpractice litigation, can help you:
- Investigate the causes and extents of your child’s birth injuries
- Interview the delivery team and gather your child’s medical records
- Verify whether or not negligence was involved
- Determine who was at fault for those injuries
- Put together a malpractice claim on your behalf
- Handle all the logistical, administrative, and legal aspects of your case
Call us now at (800) 222-9529 for a free case evaluation. One of our birth injury attorneys will walk you through everything you need to know about birth injuries, how to approach your case, which damages you may be entitled to seek compensation for, and how to plan the long-term treatment of your child. Do not delay and call now.
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