Erb’s palsy injuries are among the most common types of birth injuries that occur in delivery rooms today, and also one of the most popular driving factors for birth injury lawsuits. Parents of children with Erb’s palsy should learn more about the negligent actions that can cause this condition and how a birth injury lawsuit can provide necessary funds for medical care.
How Erb’s Palsy Happens
Erb’s palsy is a physical condition affecting movement of the arm, shoulder, and hand. Common in infants and young children, Erb’s palsy results from injury to the nerves of the arm and hand (known as the brachial plexus). It is most commonly acquired due to injury during delivery. Countless delivering physicians have been found guilty of malpractice when they used excessive force on a new baby during the delivery process.
Typically with Erb’s palsy cases, physicians are discovered to have used forceful measures to respond to the emergency of shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s shoulder gets lodged on the mother’s pelvic bone. Overuse of vacuum suction, dangerous forcep manipulation, and tugging on the arms can put the infant in grave danger. The excessive amount of pressure on a child’s head, neck, and shoulder causes immediate and often irreversible nerve damage.
Characteristics of Erb’s Palsy
The use of excessive force during delivery results in nerve damage in the form of stretching, straining, or tearing of the infant’s delicate nerve fibers. A child diagnosed with Erb’s palsy may exhibit distorted or restricted movement, including paralysis in the arm, hands, and fingers, numbness, weak hand grip, and “favoring” of the arm. Erb’s palsy generally affects one arm but may occur in both depending on how they were handled during delivery.
Erb’s palsy victims often lack the ability to fully extend the arm or hand, or to rotate the arm. While many children with brachial plexus injuries will recover normal arm use within 3 – 6 months, babies with long-term damage will require ongoing treatment and possibly surgical repair.
Filing an Erb’s Palsy Claim
If you have a child with Erb’s palsy, an experienced birth injury attorney can help you investigate to find out if your doctor is responsible for your child’s injuries. Filing a claim not only holds negligent medical professionals accountable for harm, it allows families of victims to get access to the funds they need for treatment measures like physical therapy, medication, immobilization equipment, and nerve reconstruction.