Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus nerves (a bundle of nerves that controls movement in the arm, shoulder, fingers, and hand) are damaged during childbirth. Typically, brachial plexus injuries happen as a result of shoulder dystocia, when the infant’s shoulder becomes lodged in the birth canal. This can lead the delivering doctor to stretch the infant’s neck to one side as he or she attempts to remove the infant from the mother, either as a result of failing to notice dystocia or as an improper response to this situation.
At LawMD, we have lawyers that are also medical doctors; we understand how these types of injuries occur, as well as the lifetime of complications and consequences innocent victims can pay for a doctor’s negligence. Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injured infants and their families throughout the United States. We can help you, too. If you’re looking for a Washington, D.C. Erb's palsy attorney or want to learn more about your right to a fair recovery, get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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Symptoms & Causes of Erb’s Palsy
The most immediately noticeable symptom of Erb’s palsy is difficulties using the affected arm. In infants and young children, this typically presents as weakness or loss of feeling in the arm (partial or complete) and, in the most severe cases, partial or even total paralysis of the arm. Erb’s palsy can also affect the shoulder, hand, and fingers of the affected side, resulting in weakness, loss of sensation, and/or paralysis in those areas as well.
The type and severity of nerve injury a child has suffered will determine the type and severity of symptoms. Generally speaking, there are four primary types of nerve injuries. These include:
- Avulsion: Avulsion involves the tearing of the nerve from the spinal cord. It (along with nerve rupturing) is the most severe type of nerve injury, typically resulting in the most severe symptoms.
- Neurapraxia: This is the most common type of nerve injury. With neurapraxia, the nerve is stretched but does not tear. In most cases, neurapraxia injuries heal on their own (typically within about three months).
- Neuroma: Neuroma occurs when a nerve is stretched to the point that scar tissue forms. This scar tissue can then place pressure on the still-intact nerve, resulting in some symptoms of Erb’s palsy.
- Rupture: Like avulsions, nerve ruptures are typically very serious injuries. Ruptures occur when the nerve is stretched to the point that it tears. Nerve ruptures require treatment, as recovery will not occur on its own.
These types of nerve injuries often result from difficulties during labor or delivery. Most commonly, Erb’s palsy occurs when the infant cannot pass easily through the birth canal. This might be the case when the infant is particularly large or if the infant is breech. Erb’s palsy may also occur following prolonged labor, in which the delivering doctor does not properly respond to signs of fetal distress, including loss of oxygen. Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors may also result in a child suffering brachial plexus injuries and, later, receiving an Erb’s palsy diagnosis.
Put Our Experienced Birth Injury Attorney on Your Side
If your child is displaying symptoms of Erb’s palsy, it is important that you have him or her checked by a competent medical professional. A doctor will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. While some nerve damage injuries are treatable, the cost of such treatment can be daunting for parents and families. In many cases, such injuries will leave children facing a lifetime of disabilities.
At LawMD, we understand that, as a parent, you need answers. Our Erb’s palsy lawyers can provide them. Our physician-attorneys have a rich, in-depth understanding of the medical field and how birth injuries affect children and their families. We can help you work to recover the full, fair compensation you and your child are owed.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at (888) 695-2963 today.