Erb’s palsy is a condition of the arm that occurs when the brachial plexus, which is a system of nerves that connects the shoulder to the spine, sustains damage or injury. Erb’s palsy commonly occurs during birth as a result of the baby’s size (if the baby is too large, it may become stuck in the birth canal), because the baby was pulled on, or as a result of the incorrect use of assistive devices such as forceps or a vacuum extractor by a medical team during delivery.
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, we are here to help. We help families understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to medical malpractice cases. We also help them come up with a care plan for their child, undergo treatments needed to help the injured child recover, and make sure they can seek compensation for the damages that were caused to them by medical negligence during the delivery or soon after the delivery of their baby. We are just a call away, and our team of expert malpractice attorneys is here to help. Call us now at (800) 222-9529.
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Symptoms and Diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy
Roughly two out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffers from Erb’s palsy. It usually occurs when a baby’s neck, head, or shoulders are stretched too far to one side or the other during delivery. This can happen with birth complications or if a member of the delivery team pushes the baby in a certain direction to deliver the baby.
Some of the more common tell-tale signs and symptoms of Erb’s palsy are as follows:
- An inability to move the arm, the wrist, the hand, or the fingers in certain ways
- A loss of sensation
- Weakness or paralysis in the affected arm
- Pain in certain parts of the affected limb
- Muscle loss in the shoulder or the affected arm
- Tingling in the hand or fingers
Depending on the severity of the injuries sustained during delivery, your child may require different forms of treatment. Common treatments include physiotherapy to improve muscle strength and flexibility, occupational therapy to help the patient move and control his or her limbs in specific ways, and surgery to treat torn or detached nerves. Surgery is always an option of last resort but may be needed if the other treatment options available to the patient do not lead to quantifiable improvements.
Here are the most common causes of brachial plexus injuries in babies, all of which can lead to Erb’s palsy:
- If during a feet-first or breech delivery the baby’s arms are raised, pressed, or twisted inside the birth canal, or if a member of the delivery team moves these parts of the bodies forcefully in any way, nerve damage may occur.
- If a baby’s head emerges whilst the shoulders are stuck behind it, the neck can become stretched, resulting in varying degrees of damage or injury.
- If a baby’s head and neck are pulled or pushed sideways as the baby passes through the birth canal, his or her nerves may sustain damage or may become torn.
- If the baby’s shoulders become unnaturally stretched as he or she passes through the birth canal due to the baby’s size, bone, muscle, or nerve damage may be sustained.
The skills and experience of a doctor, nurse, or another caregiver responsible for assisting during delivery can cause, contribute to, or aggravate damage to the brachial plexus, leading to a wide range of symptoms and issues for the injured child. Some of these symptoms may be short-term and can heal on their own, but others may be long-term or permanent.
As mentioned above, surgical interventions are usually only needed for cases involving severe nerve damage, but therapy of all types, as well as medicine and general treatment for Erb’s palsy, is by no means cheap, so you should speak to a lawyer to understand what kinds of damages you may be entitled to and what kinds of proof are needed to establish negligence on the part of a doctor or another health care provider.
Worcester Erb's Palsy Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
The Duty of Care
Delivery room health professionals are expected to be skilled, well-trained, and knowledgeable. They must make every effort to protect the mother and her child from injury and to prepare for unexpected delivery circumstances. They are also responsible for screening the mother and baby for infections or other issues that may cause or lead to a birth complication.
Doing all of the above is known as the duty of care – it is everything a reasonably competent medical practitioner would have done under similar circumstances. Not performing an important action (or improperly performing one, or altogether neglecting to perform an important action) can be grounds for medical negligence and the at-fault doctor or health care provider may be held liable for all damages that result from that action or inaction.
How Legal Assistance Can Help
In many cases, Erb’s palsy is a preventable injury, and you should not have to pay for your child’s treatment yourself if the injuries that your child sustained were a result of the negligence of the medical staff responsible for delivering your baby. If you are not sure what to do, call us today at (800) 222-9529. We will walk you through everything you need to know about filing a case, collecting evidence to support your claim, and conducting an investigation of the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth.
We will also help you by:
- Gathering relevant documents, such as medical records, the professional records of medical staff, and patient histories to present to the court.
- Identifying key witnesses, interviewing them, and using the testimony of malpractice experts to support your case.
- Quantifying the value of your claim by aggregating all of the costs you have suffered directly or indirectly as a result of your child’s condition.
- Ensuring that you meet all administrative, legal, and procedural deadlines and that you file on time, within the defined statutes of limitation, with the right courts.
If your child or that of a loved one suffers from a disability, has missed key growth milestones, or has trouble using their arms or hands, they may suffer from Erb’s palsy. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to investigate the cause of the illness, why it was not diagnosed, how severe it is, and what next steps you should take in the event that the child does indeed have Erb’s palsy.