Unless you or someone you know has experienced it, Erb’s Palsy may not be a term with which you’re familiar. Erb’s Palsy is a condition characterized by arm or shoulder weakness. It occurs in both infants and adults.
Erb’s Palsy can, in some cases, require rehabilitative therapy and, in severe cases, can call for significant surgical procedures.
Erb’s Palsy: Often the Result of a Difficult Birth and Medical Malpractice
Erb’s Palsy is one of several neurological disorders and most typically is caused by a physical injury that happens during the delivery of a newborn and is often the result of traumatic force on the upper arm and shoulder (or the infant’s neck), causing damage to the brachial plexus.
When this occurs, it generally affects the upper nerves and often results in a loss of motion in the affected arm as well as a loss of fine motor skills. This group of nerves connects the spinal cord’s neck (clavicle) and torso (upper trunk) areas to the arm. Stretching or pulling on the brachial plexus network can result in significant damage and long-term or permanent symptoms affecting shoulder, arm, hand, and/or finger function.
Typically, the cause of Erb’s Palsy is because of medical negligence while delivering the infant. The law firm of Ronemus & Vilensky are experts in Erb’s Palsy (or brachial plexus birth palsy) caused by malpractice at birth. Our experience enables us to properly evaluate each case to determine whether the child’s injuries resulted from negligence by the doctors or nurses.
Nearly 12,000 Cases of Erb’s Palsy Each Year
There are nearly 12,000 cases of brachial plexus birth palsy per year. It’s most common in larger infants who must be pulled out during a difficult delivery as they’re often stuck due to size. Paralysis or limpness occurs because the child can’t lift their arm away from their body (due to shoulder dystocia) or cannot bend their elbow.
Treating nerve damage due to Erb’s Palsy depends on the injury’s severity. Some cases, fortunately, resolve by themselves within three to four months. But a healthcare provider may suggest that you treat a baby’s Erb’s Palsy with exercises and physical therapy for about three weeks for the symptoms to dissipate or go away.
Range of motion and stretching exercises often help prevent permanent stiffness in the baby’s arm, hand, or wrist. In addition, following a provider’s instructions on physical and occupational therapy can help the healing process. However, symptoms will become more severe and more likely to become permanent without treatment.
Obstetric Brachial Plexus Palsy
Obstetrical brachial plexus palsy (OBPP) is an unfortunate and devastating complication associated with difficult or assisted delivery. Newborns may sustain increased force trauma to the neck during passage through the birth canal, which may put excessive stress on the brachial plexus, causing nerve injury.
As mentioned earlier, surgical intervention may be required to treat a brachial plexus birth injury. Without such intervention, the affected infant with neonatal brachial plexus palsy might fail to recover fully from their injury.
How Does Erb’s Palsy Differ from a Spinal Cord Injury?
A cervical spinal cord injury affects the head and neck region above the shoulders. It is the most severe level of spinal cord injury. An injury higher on the spinal cord can cause paralysis in most of the body and affect all limbs (tetraplegia or quadriplegia). In contrast, a lower injury to the spinal cord may cause paralysis affecting the legs and lower body (paraplegia).
Free Consultation Available from Erb’s Palsy Legal Experts Ronemus & Vilensky
It’s unfortunate and devastating that infants suffer from brachial plexus injuries due to preventable medical errors. If you believe your child has a medical malpractice case related to Erb’s Palsy, you may be entitled to seek compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills and more.
Contact the law offices of Ronemus & Vilensky today for a free legal consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you determine if your child’s brachial plexus injury results from medical malpractice. Please contact us online or call us today for more Erb’s Palsy legal information.