Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have an obligation to provide their patients an acceptable standard of medical care. Erbs palsy is caused during the birth process, a child’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the pubic bone of the mother and delivery is arrested. When this happens there are known measures that must be taken in order to properly deliver the baby while avoiding injury. The mother’s knees should first be flexed in order to permit easier delivery. If that does not work, pressure should be applied directly onto the mother’s pubic bone. This is known as suprapubic pressure and often is successful in dislodging the stuck shoulder. Medical personnel often apply pressure to the top of the belly, which is known as fundal pressure. This is harmful as it can lead to worsening of the distocia, or lodging of the shoulder, and prevents delivery.
Finally, there are other maneuvers that the competent physician must know in order to permit delivery to proceed. The physician must know how to free the baby’s shoulder by internally forcing the opposite shoulder around, thereby freeing the stuck shoulder. Forceful pressure on the baby’s head should not be used when the shoulder is stuck. Pulling the baby’s head down when the shoulder is stuck is what causes the damage to the baby and can result in horrific lifetime injuries. When appropriate medical care is not provided, injuries can result. Unfortunately, mistakes made during the delivery process can have devastating, sometimes permanent, consequences. Ronemus & Vilensky, experienced New York City Erb’s palsy attorneys, have recovered millions of dollars in damages for the families of children who have been harmed by these medical mistakes.
A child may develop Erb’s palsy in a number of ways. However, the vast majority of Erb’s palsy cases occur when excessive force is applied to the baby’s head during delivery. Improper use of force may result in damage to the nerves that come from the spinal cord in the neck. Depending on the level of the nerve that is injured, this damage results in the limitation of use of the child’s fingers, wrist, elbow or shoulder. The face can be involved and often the scapula is “winged” from injury to the nerves. Sometimes these injuries improve over time either spontaneously or with aggressive therapy. However, if the force is extreme enough, it can cause permanent injury to the nerves and other organs. Surgery to the nerves, bones or muscles can improve function, but often these children are left with permanent limitations.
If your child has suffered birth injuries as a result of medical injuries, please contact the New York Erb’s palsy attorneys of Ronemus & Vilensky today.