Childbirth, despite its magic, is a traumatic event. The mother must undergo the pain and difficulty of labor and may require a surgical procedure. The baby must pass through what are known as pathways or cues before being delivered. These pathways include changing orientation in order to enter the world head-first, traveling from the womb to the birth canal, and sustaining all of the pressure exerted on the baby’s fragile body throughout these steps.
If anything goes wrong, the baby can suffer a birth injury. Birth injuries vary in type, cause, severity, and outcome. For example, a mild birth injury involving bruising of the legs will probably heal within a few days. Nerve damage can also heal in a few days if it involves slight nerve stretching. Serious instances of damage such as a traumatic brain injury or torn nerves can lead to lifelong disabilities. Erb’s palsy is a disorder that can be caused by these types of birth-related injuries, so call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for assistance at (800) 222-9529.
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Understanding Birth Injuries and Erb’s Palsy
Technically, Erb’s palsy can occur at any time in a person’s life. There is a bundle of nerves near the neck and shoulders called the brachial plexus. This nerve bundle is responsible for sensation and controls movement in various parts of the arms, shoulders, chest, hands, and fingers. This bundle is where the nerves that control these body parts converge. It can be damaged in a car accident, during a fall, or while participating in sports, especially contact sports. Chronic bad posture can also pinch these nerves, leading to Erb’s palsy-like symptoms.
Birth complications can also cause nerve damage leading to Erb’s palsy. Consider a baby that becomes stuck inside the mother. Shoulder dystocia is a common issue that causes this. It occurs where a large baby becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvis. The head of the baby may emerge while the rest of the body is stuck inside the birth canal. This can be caused by a large fetal size, gestational diabetes, small mother size, or insufficient dilation by the mother.
Dislodging a baby that has become stuck in this manner usually involves pushing the head of the baby down while tugging on the arm or shoulder. Doing this can cause the head and neck interval–which is the space between the head and the neck–to increase. The nerves in the baby’s neck may become stretched, torn, or even detached in the process. The only reason a delivery team might resort to this seemingly traumatic procedure is that the alternative–which may be the death of the baby, hypoxia, or brain cell death–is much worse.
It is in cases like these that Erb’s palsy usually develops. If the delivery team does not prepare for a birth emergency or complication, does not test or identify signs of fetal distress, fails to recognize the position or measure the size of the baby, or mishandles the extraction of a baby that has become stuck inside the mother, these actions may be tantamount to negligence and the doctor or medical team responsible may be guilty of delivery room negligence. If you can prove the connection between these preventable errors and an injury, you can claim damages.
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Treatment and Prognosis
For the most part, the long-term prognosis of Erb’s palsy is fairly positive. Most babies make a complete recovery by the time they are 12 months old. However, this only applies if the baby suffered a mild nerve injury such as a stretched, twisted, or lightly pinched nerve. In such cases, simple therapy and range-of-motion exercises can help the child recover the sensory and motor functions that were affected by his or her birth injury.
Serious cases involving extreme nerve damage such as torn or detached nerves are a different story. They can lead to severe pain, serious forms of paralysis, and may require long-term treatment and therapy, as well as surgery. Surgery usually involves nerve transfers, muscle transfers, nerve grafts, or a sympathectomy, which involves totally cutting a nerve to instantaneously remove pain as a treatment for hyperactive or hypersensitive nerves.
These procedures can be expensive. Care costs can add to a substantial amount over time and many interventions may not be available in your area. This will make it that much harder for you to provide your child with the care that he or she needs. Traveling for care will impose added costs of travel and accommodation to a list of outlays that already includes money spent or lost on everything from medication and assistive devices to physical therapy and time off from work.
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How We Help
We are here to help you with every step of your child’s Erb’s palsy treatment. We will also help you work out a payment strategy to ensure that your child has the opportunity to recover from his or her injuries as quickly as possible. As an established legal practice, we will also help you with the legal aspects of your case. This includes:
- Determining whether or not medical negligence caused or aggravated your child’s injuries.
- Collecting evidence to prove your claim.
- Filing a claim with the right offices and the legal bodies that handle medical malpractice.
- Estimating the fair value of your claim so you can seek the maximum compensation amount that the law entitles you to.
- Helping you provide your child with the care and treatment he or she needs.
- Negotiating with hospital representatives and insurance agents while we pursue your case.
Call us now at (800) 222-9529. There is no reason your child should suffer, and there is no reason you should have to pay out-of-pocket for treatments and health issues that arise from the negligent act of a medical professional whom you entrusted with your child’s care. We provide legal advice, litigation services, and representation on a no-win, no-fee basis. We only collect when you win your case, so call now to evaluate your claim and to file a malpractice suit if the circumstances of your case legally entitle you to do so.