Erb's Palsy Lawsuit

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Erb's Palsy Overview

Erb's Palsy is a common and very serious brachial plexus injury known as shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia can result in a partial or complete paralysis of the arm that may be permanent. Klumpke's Palsy is a lower plexus injury, frequently resulting in paralysis of the hand and wrist and is extremely similar to Erb's Palsy.

A properly trained obstetrician will identify shoulder dystocia risks and take steps to avoid injury during delivery. Increased risk factors include:

  • High birth-weight babies
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Overweight mothers
  • Short maternal stature
  • A contracted or flat pelvis
  • A pregnancy lasting more than 40 weeks
  • Protracted second stage labor

There are different types of brachial plexus injuries and they can affect children with Erb's Palsy in different ways. Some children may have no muscle control or feeling whatsoever in the arm or hand, while others retain arm movement function without any control over the wrist and hand. Still others have full hand function but have no control over the shoulder or elbow muscles. Depending on the type of nerve damage in Erb's Palsy children, the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Physicians, hospitals and their support staff have both a moral and a legal obligation to adhere to the standard of medical competence and skill in their community in the safe delivery of babies. When this duty is not maintained and a birth injury results, a birth defects lawyer can help you secure justice for your child by obtaining financial compensation to provide for the child's present and future needs. Please contact a birth injury attorney today, as provided on this site, to discuss your litigation options.

Symptoms of Erb's Palsy

Symptoms of Erb's Palsy can be extremely evident, even at first encounter. In severe cases, the arm may lie useless at the baby's side with an extended and utterly motionless elbow.

Erb's Palsy injuries are in the neck, clavicle, shoulder, and arm. Children with Erb's Palsy should never be lifted from under the armpits as this may cause further injury and aggravate the condition.

Erb's Palsy symptoms often include:

  • Total loss of muscle control and feeling in the arm or hand
  • Sharply limited ability to move, and but little control
  • Retaining hand function, but without shoulder or elbow function
  • Total paralysis of the hand and fingers
  • Facial paralysis
  • Loss of ability to sit upright unassisted
  • Crawling ability non-existent without resort to therapeutic devices.

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Erb's Palsy Treatment

Spontaneous recovery of mild cases of Erb's Palsy is a common occurrence. More serious cases are often treated with exercise and physical therapy, and 80% of the time, babies born with Erb's Palsy can achieve recovery without surgical intervention.

If surgical intervention is required, it should be performed early on if at all. Best results occur when the child is 5 to 12 months of age. Beyond this age group, surgery may not be as effective.

Whether or not surgery should be performed depends on the condition of the individual child and should only be performed by a qualified pediatric neurosurgeon. Erb's Palsy surgical procedures require special anesthesia, an operating microscope, monitoring equipment and specialists to be able to expose and identify each of the nerves of the brachial plexus and surrounding structures. Most children with Erb's Palsy have damage to multiple nerves so more than one procedure is necessary for best results. If Erb's Palsy has affected your child or a member of your family, please consult with a birth injury attorney listed on this site to determine if you are eligible for compensation for the emotional and psychological distress to which the birth injury has caused.

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