What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury that occurs during birth. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves located between the neck and shoulder. In Erb’s palsy, the nerves which control the arm, hand, and fingers are damaged.
Are Brachial Plexus Injuries Life Threatening?
No. Brachial plexus injuries are not life-threatening, but they can cause life-long impairment.
Is there a Treatment for Erb’s Palsy?
Yes, but in many cases full functioning cannot be restored. Mild cases typically resolve on their own. Physical therapy is recommended in most cases. More severe cases require surgery to repair the nerves and this surgery must happen early. Surgery is not always successful in fully repairing the injury.
How Do Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries Happen?
Brachial plexus birth injuries are caused when a baby’s head and shoulder are forced too far in opposite directions during vaginal delivery. It can happen if one of the baby’s shoulders gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, called shoulder dystocia, and the obstetrician or another healthcare professional uses too much force while assisting in delivery. It can also occur during breech birth, where the baby comes out backwards instead of head first.
Is Erb’s Palsy Preventable?
Yes, in most cases. Cesarean section eliminated the chance of brachial plexus injuries during delivery. Doctors should look for the known risk factors for brachial plexus injury and recommend a C-section when appropriate. In cases where C-section is not safe for the mother or baby, or if shoulder dystocia occurs without warning signs, there are several delivery techniques that are used to prevent injury including:
- The McRoberts maneuver
- Rotational maneuvers
- Suprapubic pressure
How Will I Pay for My Child’s Needs?
The cost of Erb’s palsy varies greatly according to the severity of the initial injury, whether it is caught and treated early, and how your child responds to treatment. While some children heal completely from Erb’s palsy injuries, many suffer life-long impairment and on-going costs. The expenses and losses associated with Erb’s palsy birth injuries can include:
- Surgery and related medical care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Adaptive equipment
- Special educational needs
- Psychological care
- Lost income of parents who must miss work to care for the injured child
- Child’s future lost income
In most cases, Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus injuries are the result of medical negligence. Through a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be able to recover substantial compensation for economic damages listed above as well as your child’s non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
If you would like 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.