Erb’s palsy is a form of muscle weakness or paralysis that affects the arm between the shoulder and the hands. It is named after the physician who discovered the ailment and it is a neurological illness that stems from damage to the upper brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a large bundle of nerves near the neck and shoulders. Damage to it can lead to issues with sensation, movement, and strength in the shoulder, arms, and hands.
We can help if your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group works exclusively on birth injury cases. Call us at (800) 222-9529. Birth injuries can be difficult to diagnose, and they may involve damage that can only be identified days or weeks after damage occurs. The recovery rates of Erb’s palsy are quite high, but it requires immediate treatment within the first four weeks of a child’s life. Contact our Erb’s palsy attorney for help with managing your case.
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Types and Risk Factors of Erb’s Palsy
There are four broad categories of Erb’s Palsy which depend on the severity of nerve damage.
- Neuropraxia: This is when a nerve becomes stretched. This can happen if the arms of a baby are raised or twisted during delivery.
- Ruptures: This is when a nerve tears. This can happen if the interval between the neck and the head is expanded by pushing a baby’s head too far to one side or the other. It can also be caused by tugging on the shoulder or the head of the baby.
- Avulsions: This is the most serious type of nerve damage that can occur. It involves the detachment of a nerve from its spinal root. This can also happen if a baby that is stuck in the mother is forcefully pulled on.
- Neuromas: A neuroma develops when an injured nerve heals but leaves scar tissue in its place which then pinches the nerves around it, inhibiting their ability to transmit signals. This can lead to either a loss of sensation or pain.
Although injury to the brachial plexus can occur at any time during a person’s life, birth injuries are a common cause of Erb’s palsy in children. Adults can sustain nerve damage playing sports or in vehicle accidents. When it happens, it sometimes involves pinched or stretched nerves, but these usually recover within days or even hours. However, children–especially newborns–must be treated within four weeks if they are to avoid their injuries becoming permanent.
Some of the risk factors of Erb’s palsy in infants and newborns include:
- Complicated labor, including prolonged labor.
- Inadequate dilation of the mother.
- Breech births.
- Delivery team errors.
- Medication errors.
- Errors made reading reports or interpreting test results.
- Neglecting signs of fetal distress.
- Large babies that become stuck in the birth canal or behind the mother’s pelvis.
- High maternal blood pressure.
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Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
Parents are usually the first ones to identify health issues in their children, so it is important to recognize how it can present. Depending on which part of the brachial plexus sustains damage, a patient may exhibit a range of symptoms, including:
- Issues moving the shoulder. This is associated with damage to nerve roots in spinal cord segment C5.
- Issues with the elbows, biceps, or wrists. This is associated with damage to nerve roots in spinal cord segments C5 and C6.
- Difficulty moving, feeling, or controlling the fingers. This is associated with damage to nerve roots in spinal cord segments C6 and C7.
If the damage caused by congenital abnormalities or health complications in the mother or fetus is beyond the control of the delivery team, then the resultant health issues may be categorized as non-preventable. In many cases, however, nerve damage occurs when a member of the delivery team pushes down on the head or neck of the newborn to extricate it from the mother. Doing this can cause a nerve rupture or an avulsion.
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we work exclusively on birth injuries. From helping you understand your child’s illness to identifying the source and causes of his or her birth injuries, our San Angelo Erb’s palsy lawyer has extensive experience working with medical staff, drawing up lawsuit documentation, negotiating settlements with insurance companies, and representing clients from all walks of life in court. If your child suffers from any of the symptoms of Erb’s palsy outlined above, we can help.
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Caring for a Child with Erb’s Palsy Can Be Overwhelming
Was your child diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, or have you so far only identified some of its signs and symptoms? What steps have you taken after learning about your child’s health issues? Do you have access to medical care and diagnostic services?
Depending on the severity and location of your child’s injuries, he or she may require regular therapy–both at home as well as at a treatment facility. He or she may also require other interventions such as surgery for avulsions and ruptures or medications and assistive devices for less-serious and milder forms of nerve damage.
Beyond arranging treatments for your child, you must consider the costs you are suffering and whether or not an at-fault party should be held responsible for your child’s injuries. You may have to take time off from work, hire caretakers, travel to and from doctor’s appointments, and make changes in your home to facilitate your injured child. If you file a medical malpractice claim during this time, managing all of these tasks concurrently can be overwhelming. This is where we help our clients.
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The Birth Injury Lawyers Group is Committed To Helping You
We will help you by investigating the circumstances surrounding your child’s delivery and collecting the evidence needed to prove–or disprove–the role of negligence in causing your child’s injuries. We will also help you quantify your damages, deal with insurance agents and hospital representatives, and file all the required paperwork for you according to the timeframes legislated for medical suits.
Get started with the legal process by calling us at (800) 222-9529. Our San Angelo Erb’s palsy lawyer will assist you with filing an initial claim and will guide you every step of the way until your case is decided, so do not hesitate and call now.