The brachial plexus is an important nerve system in the neck. It is responsible for sensation and controlling movement in parts of the chest, the shoulders, and between the upper arm down to the fingers. Anything that inhibits this network of nerves the ability to send or receive signals can lead to paralysis or weakness of varying degrees, and these are the symptoms that are commonly referred to as Erb’s palsy.
Was your child diagnosed with Erb’s palsy? Was he or she treated for a birth injury or delivered in a complicated or emergency operation? If yes, your child may have sustained a birth injury that affected the nerves in the neck. Emergency deliveries often involve pushing or twisting a child’s head or arms while removing the baby from the mother, and these actions can twist, pinch, stretch, or even tear the delicate nerves of the brachial plexus.
For help with diagnosing, treating, or managing your child’s case, contact a Lubbock Erb’s palsy lawyer with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today for a free case evaluation at no upfront cost by calling (800) 222-9529.
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The Causes and Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
Anything that damages the brachial plexus can cause Erb’s palsy. For example, a vehicle accident, a fall, or injuries sustained while participating in sports can all cause damage to the nerves in the neck. Sportsmen and women sometimes feel what is called a stinger or a burner if some of the nerves in their neck are ever pinched or stretched. These feelings usually disappear after some time. They can even disappear within hours or minutes.
When it comes to children, however, the situation is more complicated. Consider the following causes of Erb’s palsy:
- A large baby may become stuck in the mother and may have to be forcibly extracted using assistive devices, sustaining an injury along the way.
- Doctor inexperience can lead to a delivery error in which the brachial plexus becomes stretched, torn, or pinched.
- If a member of the delivery team pushes the baby’s head or neck too far to one side or the other, the neck may become stretched.
- Breech births in which the feet or bottom of the baby are delivered first may force the delivery team to expedite the baby’s removal from the mother and in doing so they may inadvertently harm the baby.
These situations are markedly different from other common causes of Erb’s palsy. First of all, many of these examples may be preventable. Doctor inexperience has no place in the delivery room, and an emergency extraction should not surprise a delivery team since issues such as large fetuses or breech presentation can be tested for. The delivery team should identify such issues beforehand so that they are prepared to perform any required medical procedures as necessary.
Secondly, damage to a baby’s brachial plexus, if left untreated for as little as four weeks after birth, can render the child permanently injured. Inordinate delays in initiating treatment beyond four weeks can drastically lower the recovery chances of the child, so time is of the essence if your child suffered a birth injury.
What parents need to do is educate themselves about the signs and symptoms of Erb’s palsy so that they can immediately take their child to see a doctor if they notice any of those signs or symptoms in their child.
These Erb’s palsy signs and symptoms include:
- An inability to move the arm, hands, or fingers in certain ways.
- The arm bent toward the body at the elbow.
- Excessively stiff or floppy muscles.
- A lack of sensation or a tingling feeling in the arm or fingers.
An Erb’s palsy attorney and our network of seasoned medical experts can help you determine whether the symptoms your child exhibits are indicative of Erb’s palsy. If they are, we can connect you to the care and treatment centers your child needs.
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Treatments for Erb’s Palsy
Most Erb’s palsy injuries heal on their own within the first year of the child’s life. An estimated 90% of all cases make a complete recovery. However, in serious cases involving extensive nerve damage, long-term care such as therapy and expensive surgical procedures such as nerve grafts and transplants may be required.
In most cases, non-invasive therapy, exercise, and medication can help the child slowly heal over time until they have made a complete recovery. However, if your child has not shown any functional improvement with six months of therapy and treatment, surgery may be required.
Surgery is used only as a last resort for cases involving detached nerves (called avulsions), neuromas (scar tissue), and torn nerves (called ruptures). Cases involving neuropraxia (stretched nerves) are usually not serious. Neuropraxia is the most commonly occurring type of nerve injury that results from a birth injury.
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Why You Need a Lubbock Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
If the birth of your child was overshadowed by a birth injury to your child, you have every reason to be upset or even angry. However, by taking the right steps at the right time, you may be able to eliminate any negative outcomes from your child’s injuries. Furthermore, if your child was injured by preventable errors or because of the negligence, inattention, lack of training, or incompetence of your doctor, you may have grounds to sue for compensation.
We can help you in these situations by:
- Determining where and to what extent your child sustained an injury to the brachial plexus.
- Pinpointing the cause or causes of those injuries.
- Determining whether it was the action–or inaction–of the medical team that led to those injuries.
- Gathering the evidence needed to prove your claim by, for example, interviewing the delivery team.
- Estimating the value of your damages.
- Determining which of many different statutes of limitations and administrative deadlines apply to your case.
- Ensuring that you file your claim with the right courts, within the specified time frames, and with the right evidence and paperwork.
Erb’s palsy, whether serious or mild, can be treated, and you must not lose the hope of having your child overcome the issues and disabilities he or she faces. Our Erb’s palsy attorneys work to ensure that families with an injured child know what to do and when to secure any compensation they may be entitled to because of the negligent behavior of their doctor. Call (800) 222-9529 today to let the Birth Injury Lawyers Group initiate the process on your behalf.