Erb's Palsy is a common birth injury a child can sustain which can be avoided with proper medical care and treatment during the delivery. Erb's Palsy or brachial plexus dystocia is an injury caused by trauma to the brachial plexus, which involves damage to the nerve tissue of the baby's upper arms and shoulders. It is completely avoidable if the medical staff identifies complications that arise during delivery and take the necessary steps to avoid harming the baby during the childbirth process.
In many instances a C-section delivery could prevent this type of injury to the child, which is usually caused by three issues: a breech birth where too much pressure is placed on the child's arms, the doctor pulls on the baby's shoulders or head during labor or the baby's head strains against the birth canal. The result may be a child experiencing upper or lower arm weakness and can be obvious when the baby is moved or carried. Problems can involve a limited range of motion in the arm or arms as a result of paralysis.
In some cases the child may be able to recover from the injury with extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation, but the birth injury may require surgery to repair the damage. Either option carries extensive medical costs for the child's present and future care requirements. If parents are unsure of the extent of their child's injuries or the cause it is important to inquire sooner rather than later as there may be a statute of limitations on filing any medical malpractice claims in their state.
Any suspicions that arise regarding the possibility a child may have been harmed at birth should be addressed immediately and preferably with an independent attorney who can direct the family in the proper pursuit of evidence. A successful medical malpractice suit may entitle the family to receive compensation for not only medical expenses but also pain and suffering the child has and will endure throughout his or her life as a result of medical negligence or mistakes.
Source: Injury Lawyer News, "Erb's Palsy is Avoidable and Often the Result of Medical Negligence," Perry Larkin, Sept. 25, 2012
Our Rhode Island personal injury law firm handles medical malpractice cases, including birth injuries involving Cerebral Palsy and Erb's Palsy as discussed in this post.