Erb’s palsy is a condition that occurs in newborn babies. It can develop when a bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus sustains damage during labor or delivery. These nerves control the shoulder and arms, and Erb’s palsy can result in weakness, a lack of sensation, and sometimes even paralysis in part or all of the arm. Most infants recover over time, but some may face lasting complications, even if they receive treatment for the condition.
If your child suffered a birth injury that led to Erb’s palsy, we can help. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group understands medical malpractice, the laws pertaining to medical negligence, and how conditions such as Erb’s palsy can result from mismanagement of delivery that results in long-term costs and disabilities to an innocent child and his or her family. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at (800) 222-9529 to discuss the specifics of your case and to determine whether or not you have grounds to seek compensation.
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What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus, which is a major nerve system that runs from the spinal cord all the way through the neck and into the arm, becomes damaged via stretching or tearing or becomes severed when a baby makes its way through the birth canal. This network of nerves is comprised of five major nerves that connect to smaller nerves that ultimately control movement and sensation in the arm. Damage to these nerves can be sustained at any age, but most of Erb’s palsy cases occur during or soon after childbirth.
If a baby’s head, neck, or shoulder are stretched during delivery, either by becoming stuck in the birth canal or by being pulled on by a member of the delivery team, Erb’s palsy can develop. The risk factors for this type of injury include having an abnormally large baby, having prolonged or challenging labor, and delivering a baby feet-first or bottom-first.
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Complications and Prognosis
Generally speaking, since most babies who are born with a brachial plexus injury recover, the outlook of this type of disability is good, and a lot of the time, damage sustained by the baby is minor and will heal naturally over time. Most babies who suffer from Erb’s palsy heal and recover most if not all of the function and sensation of their affected arm by the time they are between three and six months old.
However, in cases of moderate or severe damage, a baby may suffer from long-term or even permanent disabilities. This is common when the baby’s nerves are stretched enough to tear. They may even become entirely severed from the spinal cord, leading to extreme pain and serious complications. These types of injuries usually require surgery and may not completely heal.
Children who suffer permanent Erb’s palsy damage can suffer limited sensation, limited movement, and sometimes complete paralysis in their affected arm. They will not only be faced with life-long disabilities but will also require expensive treatment and therapy, specialized care, the help of assistive devices, and round-the-clock monitoring.
Although many children overcome these challenges and enjoy fulfilling lives, they still face more challenges and expenses than they would have had to face if their birth injuries had been avoided altogether.
There are many ways that your child’s brachial plexus injury could have been the result of a medical professional’s negligence. An Erb’s palsy injury lawyer can help you determine whether or not medical negligence caused your child’s injuries.
For example, doctors are required to monitor pregnant women for possible complications. If your child was abnormally large or was going to be delivered feet-first, the doctor is required to take appropriate steps to ensure that an emergency C-section, if needed, is performed. C-sections are typically used to avoid the kinds of injuries that can occur during long and complicated labors. Failing to do so is tantamount to negligence.
Another way your doctor can be held liable for birth injuries sustained by your baby is if he, she, or his or her team used too much force to deliver the baby. If a baby is born feet-first or if its head gets stuck against the mother’s pelvis or inside the birth canal, the doctor or another member of the delivery team may rush to deliver the baby as quickly as possible. Pulling the baby out in these situations may get it through the birth canal, but pulling with too much force can stretch the nerves of the baby and result in Erb’s palsy. Additionally, the use of assistive devices such as forceps or vacuum extractors can also cause avoidable damage that your child may have to live with.
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If you believe that your child suffered a birth injury that was caused by malpractice, the most important thing for you may be the acknowledgment by your medical team that they failed you. This is very important, but you still need to prepare and plan for your child’s future. Seeking monetary compensation can help you provide for your child’s treatment and can be used to support him or her for the rest of his or her life.
Give us a call at (800) 222-9529 for the best chance of winning the compensation you deserve. We will work to seek a full and fair settlement for you and are prepared to take your case to trial if needed.
The amount of compensation you may be eligible for depends on a number of factors, including the extent of the damage your child suffered, the nature of the injuries sustained, the amount of care your child will need to live a normal life, and any additional evidence we can find against the doctor or delivery team member who was negligent.
Your compensation award will also take into consideration medical expenses, therapy costs, rehabilitation equipment, and possibly lost wages that result from missing work while you care for your injured child.
For the best possible outcome, make sure to only work with an experienced and empathetic Erb’s palsy lawyer. Your child may have to live with a certain level of pain and perhaps certain disabilities as long as he or she lives, so winning the compensation you deserve is of the utmost importance. Call now at (800) 222-9529.