The brachial plexus is a network of nerves between the neck and the shoulders. These nerves control various muscles in the chest, the shoulders, the arms, and the hands. They also control sensation in the upper arms. The incidence rate of brachial plexus injuries is a little more than two out of every 1,000 births. When the nerves of the brachial plexus become stretched, pinched, torn, or detached from the spine during a birth complication or a difficult delivery, it can cause Erb’s palsy.
Injuries to the nerves that stem from sections C5 or C6 of the spine tend to affect the shoulder and elbow, whereas injuries to sections C7, C8, or T1 tend to affect the muscles of the forearm and hand. As such, depending on where and to what extent an individual sustains brachial plexus injuries, he or she may exhibit a wide range of symptoms. Contact a Houston Erb’s palsy lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for legal assistance with your child’s case.
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Erb’s Palsy Causes, Prognosis, and Treatments
Birth injuries can happen in many different ways, and some patients can make a complete recovery. If a child’s nerves are slightly pinched or stretched during delivery, the child may suffer what is known as neuropraxia, or stretching of the nerves. As long as there is no serious damage, the child will likely recover sensation and all of his or her motor functions in the affected arm within about six months. At most, therapy may be needed to help develop strength and range-of-motion in the affected arm.
However, if serious nerve damage such as a nerve tear or detachment of a nerve from the spine occurs, surgery may be required. Surgical procedures can be very expensive and there is no guarantee that they will restore your child’s arm functions. Tears, which are known as ruptures, and nerve detachment from the spine, which is known as an avulsion, can occur if a baby is delivered feet-first or bottom-first or if the baby is too large. Injuries can also occur from delivery errors or if the mother does not dilate enough.
It is very important that you identify, diagnose, and begin treatment for your child’s condition as soon as he or she exhibits any of the signs or symptoms of Erb’s palsy because delays in treatment can cause the damage that your child sustained to become permanent. An Erb’s palsy attorney can help you investigate your child’s case to collect the evidence needed to ascertain how and why a birth injury occurred.
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Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
Depending on the type of nerve damage that your child suffers from, he or she may exhibit mild symptoms, such as tingling in the arm, or serious developmental issues, such as bone contractures or misaligned joints. Some of the common symptoms that parents should be on the lookout for when it comes to Erb’s palsy include:
- Issues with sensation.
- An inability to move the arm in certain ways.
- Muscles that are very stiff or very floppy.
- Bone and joint problems.
- The arm bent inward at the elbow.
Some of these symptoms can lead to further health issues for the child and his or her family, such as social isolation, emotional detachment, stress, financial hardship, lost work opportunities, and rising care costs.
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Proving Negligence in a Birth Injury Claim
Either your child’s birth injury was the result of doctor negligence, or it wasn’t. If it was not, you will likely have to manage the payment for your child’s treatment on your own or through your insurance provider. However, if it can be proven that a doctor’s negligence did cause or contributed to your child’s birth injuries, that gives you grounds to seek compensation from the at-fault parties that negligently caused harm to your child.
To file a medical malpractice claim, you first must determine how, when, and where a birth injury occurred. You will likely do this during the diagnosis stage of the investigation. Once you have all the relevant facts pertaining to your child’s birth injuries, you have to prove that:
- The at-fault parties owed you a duty of care of treating your child with the skill, professionalism, and knowledge expected of a competent doctor faced with the same delivery circumstances.
- The at-fault parties did not meet the medical benchmark for the provision of treatment or care to your child.
- That your child sustained an injury or suffered a disability of some sort as a result.
- That those injuries or disabilities caused you to sustain some form of financial, emotional, or physical loss.
Based on the role of negligence in causing your child’s brachial plexus injury, our team will issue a letter of intent to sue for damages and compensation for costs you were made to bear in the form of lost income, treatment expenses, tests, medication expenses, or surgery.
There are very specific statutes of limitations that apply to civil cases such as medical malpractice claims, so you must act quickly to give us the time we need to investigate your case, put a claim together, and file it with the right courts within the correct jurisdictions. Furthermore, delays in initiating treatment for your injured child can cause nerve damage to become permanent, so it is best to act now.
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Contact a Houston Erb’s Palsy Lawyer to Get Started Today
Treatment for Erb’s palsy can lead to significant costs. The ailment may affect your child for months or even years. If your child exhibits any of the signs or symptoms of Erb’s palsy that we’ve outlined above or if he or she sustained a birth injury or underwent an emergency procedure during delivery, contact an Erb’s palsy attorney at (800) 222-9529.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group will help you investigate the case and collect the evidence needed to prove negligence. We will also interview the delivery team and other key witnesses to make sure you are in a position to recover the damages you are legally entitled to, if any, from all of the at-fault parties responsible for your child’s injuries. Contact us today to learn more.