Erb’s palsy is a nerve condition that is sometimes caused by birth injuries to specific nerves. These injuries can lead to varying degrees of weakness or paralysis in one or both arms. Depending on where and to what extent the nerves in question were injured, the child may recover some or all of the function in his or her arm or may require ongoing treatment to overcome the disabilities that he or she faces.
The injuries that cause Erb’s palsy can be the result of factors beyond the control of your child’s doctor, but they are sometimes the result of medical negligence. Did your child suffer a birth injury? Was he or she diagnosed with Erb’s palsy? If yes, you should investigate the case to determine the cause and extent of your child’s injuries. A Corpus Christi Erb’s palsy lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to help.
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Understanding Erb’s Palsy
The word “palsy” means weakness or paralysis. Erb’s palsy is a specific type of weakness or paralysis in the muscles of the upper arm. It can develop in babies who sustain damage to the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a nerve bundle that can sustain damage during childbirth, especially in cases in which a delivery team applies too much force or incorrectly uses assistive devices on a baby during a difficult delivery.
Erb’s palsy is sometimes referred to as a brachial plexus injury, and the two terms are used interchangeably. However, Erb’s palsy technically refers to a specific type of brachial plexus injury. Depending on which part of the brachial plexus is injured, a child may suffer weakness or disability in his or her arm, hands, fingers, or shoulder.
Erb’s palsy generally involves C5, C6, and sometimes C7. Damage to nerves that stem from spinal cord segments C5-C6 can lead to issues with moving the shoulder and upper arm down to the elbow. C7 injuries may affect the forearm and hand.
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Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
The most common effects of Erb’s palsy are paralysis, weakness, and a tell-tale way babies with the condition generally hold their arm. For most children, the condition improves over time, and most completely recover within the first year of life. Some children, however, can have permanent injuries and may require ongoing therapy or surgery.
If your child required treatment or is living with an injury related to Erb’s palsy, you can speak with a member of our team today for free. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group now at (800) 222-9529.
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Types of Erb’s Palsy
The brachial plexus can sustain damage in different places, and the symptoms that a child exhibits will depend on where along the brachial plexus an injury occurred. In the same way, there are different types of nerve damage that can occur, each with its own set of issues and complications.
A common type of nerve injury that causes Erb’s palsy is called neurapraxia. This is when the nerves are overstretched but not torn. A rupture is when a nerve tears. A neuroma is when stretched nerves heal, leading to the formation of scar tissue that applies pressure on the healthy nerves under or around the scar tissue.
Severe damage that causes nerves from the brachial plexus to become completely detached from their roots in the spine is called an avulsion. Avulsions and ruptures are serious injuries and usually require surgery. Even with surgery, children may have lasting disabilities.
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Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Major causes of Erb’s palsy, especially in infants, are birth complications and delivery errors. Some of the things that increase the risk a baby can sustain this type of birth injury include:
- An unusually large newborn.
- A child that is large in proportion to the mother.
- A baby who gets stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone.
- A delivery that requires the use of assistive devices.
- Prolonged labor.
- Inappropriate pressure on the neck during, often from twisting or tugging during delivery.
- Breech or another unusual presentation.
Some of these issues are unavoidable and cannot be prevented. For example, a baby presenting in the wrong position is not the fault of the delivery team. However, the question then becomes whether or not the delivery team tested or screened the mother for this complication. The same goes for an unusually large fetus or other issues that can be tested for beforehand but may not have been, resulting in an injury.
Your Corpus Christi Erb’s palsy lawyer can help you determine which factors and under what circumstances a birth injury can be categorized as preventable and whether or not your child’s doctor or delivery team may have been negligent in performing their duties. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529.
Treatments for Erb’s Palsy
The good news is that most children born with Erb’s palsy recover within a few months of birth, even without intervention. For mild cases, physical therapy can be used to stimulate and promote healing and to prevent loss of muscle tone or range of motion.
For severe cases of nerve damage, surgery may be required. Torn nerves can be repaired using a graft from a donor nerve to restore feeling and movement in the affected arm. Nerve transfers may also be performed. Surgery may be required to remove a neuroma as well. These are complicated surgeries, however, and the results are not always a full return of function.
Seek Professional Legal Advice
Treatments for Erb’s palsy can be expensive, and you should not have to bear the burden of these costs if your child’s condition was caused by the negligence, inexperience, or avoidable treatment errors by your child’s care team.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 to speak with a member of our team. If we believe you have a birth injury case, a Corpus Christi Erb’s palsy lawyer may be able to initiate an investigation into your child’s injuries.