Erb’s palsy is a movement and sensation illness that develops via damage or injury to the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves located near the neck. It connects the brain and spine to different parts of the arm, chest, shoulders, hands, and fingers. The upper brachial plexus terminates throughout the arm and the lower brachial plexus terminates in endpoints in the trunk, chest, and torso. Damage to the upper brachial plexus causes Erb’s palsy. This is why Erb’s palsy is sometimes called a brachial plexus injury.
A baby’s neck and arms can be stretched, twisted, or pinched during delivery, especially during a complicated or emergency delivery. The delicate nerves of the neck, once injured in this way, may or may not recover on their own, depending on how badly they were injured. Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today for a free consultation about your child’s case and to discuss the malpractice, insurance, state, and filing laws that pertain to your situation. Call today and do not delay. We are available around the clock at (800) 222-9529.
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More on Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is defined as a common birth injury. Before birth, babies undergo many different cues called pathways that prepare it for the transition from the womb and birth canal to the world. If anything goes wrong at any stage in this process, a birth injury may occur. For example, if a baby is too large to pass the mother’s pelvis, if a baby does not turn upside down before birth, or if genetic abnormalities lead to other issues, a complication may arise, the baby may become stuck inside the mother, and emergency procedures that cause an injury may be required.
Most Erb’s palsy cases heal on their own. According to the latest figures, roughly nine out of 10 cases make a complete recovery. This only applies, however, to cases involving mild nerve damage. Twisted, pinched, or stretched nerves–which is called neuropraxia–can heal on their own. One caveat, however, is that treatments must be administered within four weeks because recent studies have found that delays in initiating treatment for damaged nerves beyond the first 28 days of a child’s life can cause nerve damage sustained at birth to become permanent.
In addition to this, it is worth keeping in mind that Erb’s palsy can technically occur at any time. Anything that damages the brachial plexus and inhibits the transmission of signals between the brain and parts of the arm can lead to the paralysis and weakness commonly associated with Erb’s palsy.
One key difference is that adults tend to heal more quickly from their injuries, sometimes within days, and cases involving adults usually do not involve any form of medical negligence because they tend to occur during sports activities, unless it occurs on, for example, an operating table, in which case it is an entirely different matter that may well be subject to malpractice scrutiny.
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How do you know if negligence was involved in or contributed to your child’s injuries? The test for this involves determining what a reasonably competent doctor would have done if faced with the same circumstances in which your child suffered an injury. If another doctor–one who is deemed to be competent based on the standards set by the medical community–would have acted differently in response to those circumstances, then we can say that your child’s doctor acted negligently.
However, if any other doctor would have done the same things that your child’s doctor did, then it would be difficult to classify the injuries that result as having been caused by negligence. An experienced birth injury lawyer can help you make the connection between the actions of your child’s doctor or care team and the injuries and disabilities that your child suffers from in order to prove the role and impact of negligence in causing you and your loved one bodily harm.
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Some of the broad treatment categories available for Erb’s palsy include:
- Physiotherapy, which involves strength and motion exercises, stretching, and electrical stimulation. Patient responses to therapy vary from person to person but it is usually used with cases involving mild to severe nerve damage.
- Occupational therapy can be used to help patients above the age of six learn how to perform routine tasks such as writing, eating, and taking care of themselves.
- Surgery is only used in cases involving avulsions or ruptures or if a patient does not show any substantive progress from other treatment options. Ruptures are when nerves become cut or severed, and avulsions are when nerves become detached from the spine.
These treatments may or may not be available in your locale, and specialist doctors are sometimes booked months in advance for these types of procedures depending on demand and available resources. Speak with your doctor and consult with your lawyer about seeking treatments elsewhere if they are not available locally.
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The costs of treatment and care can quickly add up. You must file for damages if you are to recover these damages, especially if a doctor’s negligence caused you to suffer these damages, to begin with.
- The costs of surgery, medications, and therapy
- Doctor’s visits
- Assistive devices
- Testing and imaging costs
- Lab tests
- Caretaker costs
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering damages
Pain and suffering are defined as non-economic costs and you will need the assistance of an economics expert to determine how much you can claim for with regards to this claim category. Our team has access to such experts within our professional networks and can help you connect with them as part of the filing and damages assessment steps of your claim.
If your child is to make a complete recovery from his or her birth injuries, you must initiate treatments for nerve damage as soon as injuries are identified. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group will help you put together a case and will see your claim through from initial filing until the case is decided. Call us today at (800) 222-9529.