Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that occurs when the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves in the neck that controls the arms, is damaged or injured. It can lead to a loss of sensation, a loss of strength and motor control, as well as pain and growth defects in the affected arm. It can occur when a baby is delivered, especially if the delivery team incorrectly uses assistive devices or pulls with too much force on the baby, causing his or her head, neck, shoulders, or arms to unnaturally stretch too far one way or another.
If your child was born with Erb’s palsy, you may have grounds for filing a claim against your doctor, his or her medical team, or the hospital at which your child was born. To learn more about how we can help you, call us at (800) 222-9529 for a free case evaluation. We offer services on a contingency basis with no up-front cost, and we are only paid once you have received compensation for your child’s injuries, so call today.
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Erb’s Palsy Injury Cases
Every case of Erb’s palsy is different, but in cases of medical negligence or malpractice, every case involves an assessment of compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of future earning potential, and other direct and indirect losses that accrue from a child’s Erb’s palsy that was caused by medical error.
Erb’s palsy can indeed occur naturally, but it frequently occurs when trauma is sustained by a baby during birth, often from medical malpractice.
In legal terms, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to adhere to a set standard of care, which requires performing procedures and taking actions with the skill and competence that other medical professionals would have performed them if faced with a similar set of circumstances.
Medical malpractice includes acts performed, as well as those not performed, during childbirth or soon after delivery, including a failure to monitor the child in the womb in the weeks prior to delivery, which results in injury to the child.
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Manifestation and causes of Erb’s palsy include the following.
This is when a child’s shoulder becomes lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone, making it difficult for the baby to be delivered. Medical professionals delivering a child in such a situation needs the requisite training to be able to alleviate the problem in a timely manner in order to avoid causing a birth injury or health complications for the mother and her child.
Children are usually delivered head-first, but in some cases, they can become misaligned in the uterus before delivery. This means that they enter the world feet-first. This can put a great amount of pressure on the child’s head, neck, and shoulders, and this can cause tearing and ripping of the baby’s delicate nerves. Members of the delivery team need to be aware of the chances of a breech birth based on ultrasounds taken weeks or perhaps days prior to the actual delivery date. A failure to schedule a C-section to reduce the risks of injury at birth from a breech delivery can be considered negligence on the part of the doctor.
Assistive Device Issues
Vacuum extractors and forceps are sometimes used to assist in deliveries. Some delivery complications, including breech births, prolonged labor, or weak vital signs in the infant, will require the delivery team to use such tools to quickly deliver the baby. To use these tools, they are placed on the infant’s head or shoulder, and pressure is applied to the child in order to dislodge him or her from within the birth canal. Doctors need to be trained to use these tools properly – as well as know when these tools can and should be used or avoided. If used improperly, vacuum extractors and forceps can damage an infant’s delicate skull, resulting in nerve damage in the neck, shoulders, or arms, leading to Erb’s palsy.
Complicated deliveries, especially unexpected deliveries, may force a delivery team to rush in delivering a child. This may be in order to avoid brain damage from a lack of oxygen, especially in cases where there is internal bleeding the baby, or if his or her neck becomes entangled with the umbilical cord.
Medical professionals are responsible for familiarizing themselves with these types of cases and for taking note of potential risk factors that may require special delivery procedures or plans. If a doctor or hospital staff fail to meet this standard of care, and if a child sustains injuries as a result, they may all be liable for the resultant damages.
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What Can Be Recovered in Erb’s Palsy Cases?
Monetary damages are often awarded in cases in which medical negligence caused a newborn baby to suffer from Erb’s palsy. These damages usually cover the following categories:
- The costs of physical, occupational, and/or emotional therapy
- The costs of doctor follow-ups
- Medical equipment costs
- The costs of corrective surgeries
- Lost earnings
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and emotional trauma
If your child or that of a loved one suffers from Erb’s palsy, a lawyer can help you seek compensation for your losses. Depending on how severe the injuries are and how they were caused, some cases may even warrant punitive damages against the at-fault medical practitioners who were either found to be grossly negligent or did not meet the prescribed level of the duty of care when delivering your child.
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How We Can Help
If negligence or medical malpractice caused, contributed to, or exacerbated your child’s birth injuries, the Birth Injury Lawyer Group can help. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to speak with an experienced medical malpractice and birth injury expert. Our team can significantly improve the outcome of your case. Our extensive knowledge of the intricacies regarding medical malpractice laws, as well as our experience litigating and negotiating birth injury cases, can mean the difference between securing your child’s long-term future and facing mounting medical bills on your own.
We have access to expert witnesses, medical investigators, injury experts, and other staff who can help collect the evidence needed to build a case, negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf, and take your case to court if a suitable settlement cannot be arrived at.