Erb’s palsy is a serious neurological disorder that is quite common in the United States. It affects roughly two out of every 1,000 live births in the country every year. It often occurs as a result of birth-related injuries when nerves in the neck sustain damage such as tearing or stretching. Birth complications and medical errors are common causes of Erb’s palsy, as are instances of prolonged labor, medication errors, and the incorrect use of assistive devices during delivery.
The mistakes and/or negligence of delivery room doctors, nurses, and other caregivers can lead to long-term health issues and disabilities for the newly born infant, the mother, and the family that will have to suffer injuries that are sometimes life-altering. Birth injuries not only alter the course of the affected individual’s life, but they can lead to high medical bills, emotional stress, and isolation from the community. If your child suffered a birth-related injury that led to an Erb’s palsy diagnosis, we can help. Call (800) 222-9529 today for a free case evaluation. Our team of experienced attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is here to help you understand your legal options, the rules that apply to medical malpractice, and how to file a claim for damages.
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What Is Erb’s Palsy?
The brachial plexus is a system of nerves in the neck. It is responsible for controlling movement and sensation in parts of the neck as well as the shoulders down to the hands and fingers. Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that can occur when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck against the mother’s pelvic bone or inside the birth canal during delivery, leading to stretching or tearing of the brachial plexus. This type of nerve damage can lead to an inability to use one arm or the other, as well as pain and a loss of motor function in the arm.
In cases where Erb’s palsy results from birth-related injuries, it is often categorized as preventable. This applies as long as a reasonable level of medical care is used during the baby’s delivery. If a doctor fails to recognize specific signs of fetal distress or does not take corrective steps on time to address the cause of distress, he or she may be liable for medical malpractice. The same applies if the doctor does not take steps to minimize the chances of an injury to the mother or baby or incorrectly uses delivery tools such as a vacuum extractor or forceps to remove the baby from the mother and ends up causing or worsening a birth-related injury to the baby. All of these events can lead to brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s palsy.
We work to ensure that patients and their families that suffer from injuries as a result of medical negligence can overcome the personal, financial, and legal challenges they face in treating their child’s Erb’s palsy. If your child has been diagnosed with this illness or any other birth-related injury, we can help. Simply call (800) 222-9529 for a free case evaluation at no up-front cost. We will help you take the first steps in securing the physical well-being of your child and the financial well-being of your family by gathering the evidence needed to prove your case and filing a claim for all direct and indirect damages that accrue due to your child’s Erb’s palsy diagnosis.
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The Effects of Erb’s Palsy
Nerves damaged during an emergency or complicated delivery can heal, as long as the injuries are minor or mild. However, some children suffer severe Erb’s palsy as a result of extensive nerve damage caused by, for example, nerves within the brachial plexus tearing or completely detaching from the spine. This can lead to the affected arm growing shorter than the unaffected one. Other disabilities and health issues can also develop, including all of the following:
- Low fine-motor skills
- Weakness in the arm
- Limited range of motion
- Bone contractures
- Pain and discomfort
Treatments for Erb’s Palsy
To treat your child’s Erb’s palsy, your doctor will first try to determine how severe your child’s case is. Mild cases can usually be managed by a combination of therapy and exercise; serious cases usually require surgery, especially when other forms of therapy lead to no real improvement in function in the affected arm.
Some of the most commonly administered forms of treatment for Erb’s palsy are as follows.
- Physiotherapy: Stretching, muscle-building exercises, learning to walk and move, and learning how to perform other actions to improve the ability to perform specific movements or actions.
- Occupational Therapy: Learning how to perform everyday activities such as eating, playing, grasping objects, writing, drawing, and more.
- Hydrotherapy: An anti-gravity environment that lowers stress on the skeleton and the muscles, facilitating movement and reducing the occurrence of spasms.
- Surgery: Nerve grafts or transplants can help damaged nerves heal, reduce pressure on pinched or compressed nerves, and improve blood flow and nerve connectivity to affected areas.
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The Importance of Legal Assistance
Erb’s palsy affects different people in different ways. Some people require lifelong intensive care; others recover on their own with no or very few symptoms of their injury.
For those who do need it, treatments are expensive, and the financial burden of paying for care can quickly exhaust your financial resources. Remember, though, that you are not alone, and we are here to help. The team of compassionate and empathetic attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is here to help you cope with and overcome such trying circumstances.
To do this, we will investigate your child’s medical records, look into the treatment records of your primary doctor and his or her team to identify any histories of malpractice, obtain the testimony of medical and legal professionals in support of your case, and help you navigate the complexities of insurance and malpractice claims so that you can focus on the rehabilitation and recovery of your child. We offer all of these services on a contingency-fee-basis; this means you pay nothing until you receive a settlement or a compensation payout for your damages. To learn more about your rights and to file a claim for the damages you may be entitled to, call us today at (800) 222-9529.