Erb’s palsy is a neurological injury that can develop if the brachial plexus, which is a system of nerves in the neck, sustains damage or injury. The brachial plexus controls the shoulder, arms, wrist, hands, and fingers, and damage to this network of nerves, whether in the form of stretching, tearing, or pressure, can cause Erb’s palsy. Patients suffering from this condition may experience weakness in their shoulder or arm, a lack of sensation, and partial or total paralysis in all or part of their affected arm.
The brachial plexus can be injured in several ways, but a common source of brachial plexus injury is delivery room-related events such as inadequate oxygen supply to the baby before or during birth, viral or bacterial infection, or medical errors such as the incorrect use of birthing devices or incorrect dosages of labor-inducing drugs. These events, whether accidental or intentional, can lead to long-lasting complications and disabilities in the affected child, even if he or she receives treatment.
Especially when it comes to delivery cases that involve unexpected developments or complications, damage to the brachial plexus is often the result of medical negligence or malpractice. If your child suffered a birth injury or was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, we can help. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. Our team of birth injury legal experts will help you learn more about how to diagnose your child’s illness, how to file a claim, what your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to medical malpractice, and how to find the care and treatment your child needs.
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Types of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy can develop from damage to the brachial plexus in four basic ways.
An avulsion injury is the most severe type of brachial praxis injury. It occurs when the nerve root becomes torn and detached from the spinal cord.
A rupture injury is when a nerve tears but not at where it connects to the spine.
A neuroma develops when a torn nerve heals but leaves scar tissue in its place. This scar tissue can place pressure on the injured nerve and prevent it from properly sending signals to the muscles, affecting sensation, motor control, and movement in the affected area.
Overstretching and subsequent damage to a nerve leads to neuropraxia.
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Diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy
A doctor can only diagnose Erb’s palsy by physically examining your child. Further tests may be required to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis so that you and your doctor can discuss treatment plans for your child. Some of the tests that may be administered to test for or measure the severity of Erb’s palsy are as follows:
- An MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound to take images of the brain to identify potential damage.
- An electromyography, or EMG, that records electrical activity in the target muscle tissue.
- A nerve conduction velocity test, or NCV, measures the speed at which electrical impulses travel down a nerve.
- An x-ray image of the blood vessels to identify issues such as blockages.
These types of tests, especially when they are invasive, can be very expensive, but they are needed if you are to accurately assess the extent and severity of your child’s injuries. When added to the costs of doctor visits, specialist consultations, different forms of therapy, childcare, and transportation to and from checkups, a family’s financial resources can be quickly depleted. Dealing with insurance companies and the representatives of your doctor while caring for an injured or disabled child can be very difficult as well, adding an additional layer of complexity to your child’s case.
We help families affected by birth injuries by handling all the administrative, legal, and follow-up steps involved in a malpractice case on their behalf so that they can focus on their child’s recovery.
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Treating Erb’s Palsy
Depending on the severity of your child’s brachial plexus nerve damage and the results of the diagnostic tests outlined above, your child’s injuries may be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Different types of palsy will require different interventions, and your doctor may recommend a regimen of therapy and/or exercise or may tell you that surgery is needed to correct the nerve damage your child suffers from.
Surgery is usually required to remove scar tissue that has formed in or on the nerves or to reconnect a nerve root or branch to the spine. Surgery may also be needed to repair or reduce pressure on nerves that were cut or torn during delivery. Any delay in performing corrective procedures such as these can lower your child’s chances of recovering sensation and function in their affected limbs.
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The Long-Term Outlook of Erb’s Palsy
The long-term outlook of Erb’s palsy depends on the severity of the injuries involved, the specific nerves that were damaged, and the ability of the patient to recover using whatever treatments are available to them. If a patient’s nerves do not heal on their own, they have little chance of recovery unless a surgical reconnection procedure is performed. People who experience less severe types of nerve damage can regain 90% or more of the function of their affected limbs, provided they undergo the right treatment and therapy in a timely fashion.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group focuses on medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries, and we can help you recover damages and compensation if your child’s injuries were the result of medical errors or gross negligence. Call us today at (800) 222-9529 to learn more about your rights and responsibilities, the kinds of evidence we will collect to prove your case, how compensation and damages are calculated for birth injury situations, and what next steps you should take to secure your child’s and your family’s future. Call now.