Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus injuries are preventable birth injuries that can result in permanent impairment for your child. Brachial plexus injuries affect the arm and hand. They do not affect the brain. Some babies require surgery, and almost all need physical therapy to gain the best possible function. If your child suffered brachial plexus injury during birth, we are here to help you recover the compensation that can pay for their needs. Please, talk to the Erb’s Palsy Lawyers Group today.
Consequences of Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located between the neck and shoulder. It controls use of the arm and hand. The effects of brachial plexus injuries will depend on the severity of injury and whether it was detected and treated early. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair the nerves. Consequences of brachial plexus birth injuries can include:
- Arm that is turned inward
- Scapular winging – protruding shoulder blade
- Numbness in the arm
- Ability to move arm, but with minimal control over hand and wrist movement
- Ability to use hand, but with limited use or shoulder and/or elbow
- No use of hand and fingers
- General loss of muscle control in the arm and hand
- Complete paralysis of the arm and hand
- Horner’s syndrome – drooping eyelid and small pupil
- Phrenic nerve damage – affects function of the diaphragm and in rare cases leads to newborn respiratory distress
How Brachial Plexus Injuries Happen
Brachial plexus injuries are caused by stretching of the baby’s neck during childbirth. In most cases shoulder dystocia is involved. In shoulder dystocia, the baby’s shoulder is wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. If too much force is used in assisting delivery, the nerves in the brachial plexus can be stretched or torn. Brachial plexus injuries can also occur during breech-position birth.
Brachial plexus injuries are preventable. Cesarean section is the most reliable way to prevent the injury. When C-section is not safe or appropriate, other delivery methods, such as the McRoberts maneuver, can be used to safely deliver a baby with shoulder dystocia.
There are certain risk factors that alert doctors to the likelihood of shoulder dystocia. These include:
- Diabetes in the other
- Large baby
- Fetal macrosomia – baby with a large body compared to the head
- Overdue baby
- Obese mother
- Older mother
- Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
- Small pelvis or unusually shaped pelvis in mother
- Mother who is short or small
- Induced labor
- Prolonged labor
- Fetal malposition in the birth canal
To learn more about Erb’s Palsy and your legal rights, please call the Erb’s Palsy Lawyers Group at 1-800-BABY-LAW (1-800-222-9529) or contact us online today.