Erb's Palsy

Erb’s palsy is an injury to the nerves in the upper arm of a child; it often occurs during a difficult or complicated birth. Children born with Erb’s palsy will experience paralysis of the upper arm which happens when there is significant damage to a group of nerves called the brachial plexus.

What Causes Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy may occur naturally as the result of a difficult birth, but it often results from medical malpractice. Some of the causes of Erb’s palsy include:
  • Shoulder Dystocia - Shoulder dystocia describes a situation which can occur during birth, when a child’s shoulder is pushed against the mother’s pelvic bone, making delivery more difficult. If a physician is careless while this occurs, the ensuing damage can lead to Erb’s palsy.
  • Breech Births - Most children are born head-first, but in the case of a breech birth, a baby is delivered feet first. This position can put strain on the child’s head, neck, and shoulders on its way through the birth canal, leading to nerve damage.
  • Vacuum/Forceps Delivery - Some complicated deliveries require the assistance of certain medical equipment to ease the process along. Tools like a vacuum or forceps are placed on the infant’s head or shoulders, but when misused, they can damage the infant’s skull and nerves.
Additionally, the risk of Erb’s palsy increases in cases where the infant is larger in size than the average newborn, as this can put additional strain on the mother during birth.
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How is Erb’s Palsy Treated?

It has been observed in some cases that a baby with Erb’s palsy makes a recovery on their own, but this is rare. Many children with Erb’s palsy require a full treatment plan to help them live with the condition. Treatment options for Erb’s palsy can include medical intervention from specialists, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and prescription medication.
In some cases, a child with Erb’s palsy may have to undergo corrective surgery, including muscle transfers to assist them develop strength. Treatment for Erb’s palsy is continuous as long as the child has the condition.

What Are The Long-term Effects of Erb’s Palsy?

Depending on the individual case, Erb’s palsy can affect a child as they grow into adulthood, impairing their muscles and nerves as they continue to develop. The affected arm will be far weaker than the unaffected arm. It is not uncommon for a patient to be unable to lift the weakened arm above their shoulder without assistance, and in some cases the affected arm can even appear smaller physically than the unaffected arm.

Is Erb’s Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Many—but not all—cases of Erb’s palsy result from medical negligence. The key question in determining negligence is whether the injury could have been prevented. If a medical professional did something, or failed to do something, and this resulted in injury to the child, the case can be made that medical negligence occurred.

How Can a Lawyer Help With My Child’s Erb’s Palsy?

If your child’s Erb’s palsy may be the result of medical malpractice, an experienced birth injury law firm can evaluate the facts and explain your legal options. In cases where failure to follow proper medical procedures caused injury, the family is eligible to recover medical and hospital expenses to cover the care of the child, as well as damges for things like emotional distress and diminished quality of life.

We’re Here For You

Morgan & Morgan’s birth injury lawyers have decades of experience proving causation in Erb’s palsy cases. We work with medical experts to help establish a link between your child’s diagnosis and medical professional negligence. We’ve recovered numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for birth injuries, and we’re here to help your family during this uncertain time.

Contact Morgan & Morgan

A free birth injury case evaluation is just a call or a click away. Get in touch with us at (855) 300-4456 or send us a message.
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