What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb's palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, is a condition whereby your baby cannot use one or both of their arms, shoulders, or hands adequately. The condition presents through the affected limbs being weak, lacking feeling, or completely paralyzed. It is caused by the collection of nerves around your baby’s shoulder being damaged during a difficult delivery.
Unlike cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy results from direct damage to these nerves as opposed to damage to your child’s brain. Because this injury occurs around the time of birth, it is considered a birth injury.
What Caused Your Child’s Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy usually develops when the nerves around your child's shoulder/s are forcefully pulled on during delivery. If your baby becomes stuck during delivery, then your doctor may forcefully pull the baby out. By pulling on your child’s feet, shoulders, head, or arms, your doctor can cause nerve damage or the tearing of your child’s brachial plexus - which is the network of nerves that sends signals from your child’s spine to their shoulders, arms, and hands. In the most severe cases, this can lead to total paralysis in the affected limbs.
Common causes of Erb’s palsy include:
- Your baby’s shoulder being caught behind your pubic bone during childbirth (known as shoulder dystocia)
- Your baby’s head and neck being pulled toward the side as their shoulders pass through the birth canal
- Your doctor forcefully pulling your baby’s shoulders during head-first delivery
- Your doctor forcefully pulling your baby’s feet during a breech delivery
Should You File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
Because Erb’s palsy can cause significant short-term and long-term difficulties for both you and your child, a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit may certainly be warranted. Your child may not be able to feed themselves or perform other functional activities such as putting on their own clothes as a result of their Erb’s palsy. This can be incredibly frustrating.
Thankfully, most children can fully recover from Erb’s palsy, as it is a highly treatable condition. However, children who are unable to access treatment, or those with severe Erb’s palsy, could be permanently handicapped for the rest of their lives.
It is crucial that you know the causes, symptoms, and treatments of Erb’s palsy if you wish to pursue a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit. Erb’s palsy is often preventable with proper medical care and procedures during the delivery process. Thus the use of excessive force by your doctor during delivery can generally be considered as medical negligence.
In treating Erb’ palsy, your child may require extensive therapy and rehabilitation, as well as surgery. These processes can be financially and emotionally taxing, and so people often seek compensation via a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you feel that you would like to file a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit, then you should consult with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer and adhere to the statute of limitations specific to your state. If you live in NYC, then a qualified NYC medical malpractice attorney will be able to review your case and decide whether it is viable or not. If they believe it to be viable, then they will guide you through the procedural steps of a birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit, as well as ensure that you can fulfill all of the criteria needed for your lawsuit to succeed so that you may receive compensation.
If you believe that your child may have Erb’s palsy after reading this document, please contact the medical malpractice lawyers of Rosenburg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff LLP in NYC.
When you are ready to talk, we are ready to listen. Call 1-866-516-5887 and speak to one of our medical malpractice attorneys for a free, confidential consultation.