Neurological disorders that affect the nerves and muscles can develop in many different ways. Genetic mutations, physical trauma, toxic substances, premature birth, and medical errors can all cause or contribute to an injury that affects how someone moves or feels. Erb’s palsy is no different. It is an illness that affects a person’s ability to move the arm in certain ways. It is sometimes called a brachial plexus injury because the brachial plexus is the nerve bundle that is connected to the arms, shoulders, and hands, and injury to it can lead to many health issues.
If your child or someone you know suffered a birth injury or was formally diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, we can help. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group helps families that have suffered a birth or delivery injury understand the disorder that their newborn has, and we can help you seek damages and compensation for those injuries. Call us now at (800) 222-9529. We provide all of our clients with free, no-obligation case evaluations and we only collect if you win your case. Do not hesitate and let us help you. Time limits for filing apply so you should quickly file a claim.
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Erb’s Palsy and Newborn Injuries
Erb’s palsy is a type of weakness or paralysis that is caused by damage to the brachial plexus. If the brain’s connection to any part of the body is blocked or damaged, the electric impulses that allow us to feel and move those parts of the body cannot go to or from the brain to the target area. A damaged brachial plexus simply means that the brain has lost its connection to the arm, or has a restricted connection that affects the patient’s ability to use, feel, or move the arm.
Although every case of Erb’s palsy involves some form of nerve or muscle damage, each case is different and unique. Some of Erb’s palsy cases can occur naturally, some occur during delivery, and some are caused by doctor errors or incompetence. Being professionally competent to provide medical services means you have the training, expertise, and knowledge to care for certain patients or provide certain healthcare services. Anyone who does not have the requisite skills, training, or experience can be held liable for damages they cause.
With Erb’s palsy, if a doctor or someone on his or her medical team inadvertently injures a baby, makes mistakes while delivering a baby, or misdiagnoses an illness or symptoms, misuses medical equipment, or harms the baby or the mother in any other way that could have been prevented, he or she may be guilty of negligence and liable for any damages that are caused.
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Erb’s palsy develops when the brachial plexus is injured in any way. Specifically, it can develop as a result of injury or damage to the upper brachial plexus, because this is where the nerves that control the arm between the shoulder and the fingers are located. The lower brachial plexus controls parts of the chest and torso.
This is a common injury that happens if a baby’s shoulders become stuck against the mother’s pelvic bone. When this happens, the baby cannot easily enter the world. Doctors who deliver babies that are stuck inside the mother need to have the training needed to dislodge the baby without causing it undue harm because extracting a baby from the birth canal may involve pulling, twisting, or stretching the arms, neck, or shoulder. These are precisely the kinds of treatments that can lead to nerve damage in the neck and Erb’s palsy.
Natural births are those in which the baby is born head-first. Some children do not turn around inside the womb or birth canal and are not positioned upside down inside the mother before delivery. When this happens and if they come out feet first or buttocks first, they do not come out easily. Babies’ skulls can contract to help the head get through the mother, but if a leg or an arm appears first, the delivery team may have to tug or push on that part of the baby’s body so that they are in a position to extract the entire baby.
Incorrectly doing any of the above can place a great deal of pressure on the baby’s head, neck, and shoulders. This can cause tearing, ripping, or stretching of the baby’s nerves, all of which can lead to sensory issues in the arms. These sensory issues are the characteristic symptoms of Erb’s palsy.
Incorrect Use of Medical Devices
Improperly using the likes of vacuum extractors and forceps–devices that use pressure to pull a baby out from the mother–can cause a great deal of harm if they are not used correctly. Pulling on a newborn’s skull or arm in any situation is dangerous and not recommended, but when it happens when half the baby is stuck inside the mother, the results can be traumatic. Doctors and their teams need to be trained in the use of these devices if they are to use them without causing more harm to a baby that has already undergone so much trauma during delivery.
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Winning Damages and Awards
If your child developed Erb’s palsy because of the negligence of his or her delivery team, you may have grounds to seek compensatory payments to cover you for:
- Physical, occupational, or emotional therapy costs
- Doctor visit costs
- Surgery and medication costs
- Medical device costs
- Lost income
- Pain, suffering, and mental damages
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we can help you by finding the proof that is needed by the court or a judge to know within credible reason that the actions or the inaction of a medical team was the cause of the injuries and the subsequent medical disorders and financial outlays that you and your family were subjected to. As long as the causes of those injuries were preventable and as long as you can prove that the medical team should have known or done better, you have a case. Call us at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about what you need to do.