Erb’s palsy is a condition that develops when the brachial plexus, a system of nerves near the neck that plays a role in controlling and moving the arm, sustains damage such as stretching, tearing, or pinching. Because the brachial plexus branches out all the way to the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers, injuries to it can lead to weakness in the arm and a loss in the ability to move or control the arm. Over the longer term, it can lead to muscle degeneration, a loss of sensitivity, blood flow issues, misaligned joints, and stunted growth of the arm.
According to recent estimates, about two out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffer from Erb’s palsy. It is often caused when a baby’s neck, head, or shoulders are stretched too far to one side or the other during delivery. This can happen as a result of the baby being forced into a compromised position by a doctor or another member of a delivery team or as a result of delivery room emergency actions or birth complications.
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, we are here to help. Call us for a free case evaluation at (800) 222-9529. We will walk you through everything you need to know about Erb’s palsy, from what the expected costs of care are for an injured or disabled child and how to determine whether or not medical malpractice or negligence contributed in some way to your child’s injuries, to the prognosis of the condition and how it will likely affect your child’s ability to learn and grow. We will also explain your rights to you in great detail and outline what you need to do in order to win compensation from an at-fault party or parties responsible for harming your child.
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Erb’s Palsy Prognosis
Depending on the severity, location, and extent of damage sustained by the brachial plexus, most children who suffer from Erb’s palsy recover movement and feeling in their affected arm with regular therapy and exercise. More serious conditions will require longer therapy and may even require surgery. It all depends on where and how the injury took place and how severe or mild it is.
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Is Erb’s Palsy Permanent?
Every child, injury, and long-term outlook is unique. The symptoms your child suffers from, the types of rehab he or she will have to undergo, and the costs of his or her treatment will all depend on a unique set of circumstances that are different from case to case. Children who suffer mild Erb’s palsy can recover fully or partially from their injuries with physical therapy and non-surgical treatment. Children who suffer from severe damage to their brachial plexus may only recover partially and may require invasive surgeries and months or years of therapy and treatment. Even with surgical interventions, the results are not guaranteed, and it is entirely possible that a severe case of Erb’s palsy continues to linger and affect the growth, development, and motor abilities of the child for the duration of his or her life.
To determine the extent and long-term implications of your child’s Erb’s palsy, discuss your child’s health with his or her doctor. You should initiate the recommended methods of treatment as soon as possible so that your child’s nerves have a chance to heal and potentially recover with the passage of time. You should also speak to an experienced Erb’s palsy or birth injury attorney because your costs can add up quickly and, before long, you may be faced with substantial medical bills even though the injuries and disabilities that your child suffers from and for which you are paying were the results of the negligence of your child’s delivery or neonatal care team.
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Treating Erb’s Palsy
The main determinant of the type of treatment that will likely work for your child’s case of Erb’s palsy is the extent and severity of the nerve damage that he or she sustained.
Common treatments for Erb’s palsy include the following.
There are different types of therapy, each of which can help your child recover or overcome specific issues he or she faces. Physical therapy can be used to heal and rebuild stretched or damaged nerves. Occupational therapy can be used to help your child learn specific skills and rebuild strength and develop the coordination to perform certain motor actions. Hydrotherapy may also be used; this type of therapy uses a zero-gravity environment that lessens the stress and pressure on your child’s limbs and helps them rebuild strength and range-of-movement.
Severe cases of Erb’s palsy may require surgery. Surgery is usually the treatment of choice when it comes to birth injuries that cause split or torn nerves. Surgical treatments include nerve grafts and nerve decompression procedures.
The recovery timeline for Erb’s palsy can be a few weeks to a lifetime of slow yet steady progress based on the type and location of the injury sustained.
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Ensuring Treatment and Care
You might wonder, what will happen if my child’s Erb’s palsy is not treated? A failure to diagnose or treat Erb’s palsy can negatively impact your child for the rest of his or her life. Research has found that serious injury to the nerves has little chance of recovery unless the right therapeutic and potentially surgical interventions are used, that too within a specific time frame.
If your child has received an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, we are here to help. We will help you investigate the causes of the injuries that led to your child’s condition in order to determine who, if anyone, was responsible for medical negligence that caused the illness. We will also help you quantify your damages, determine the types of compensation you may be entitled to, and seek cover for other damages such as lost income or the cost of diagnostic tests that you had to pay for to treat your child. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to speak to an Erb’s palsy birth injury expert and let the Birth Injury Lawyers Group manage your case on your behalf.