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Erb’s palsy is a medical condition caused by damaged nerves. In some cases, the condition is caused by medical negligence. If your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, reach out to an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer to help you recover damages for medical and other expenses.
What Is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves, which runs from the spinal cord, through the neck, and into the arm.
These five significant nerves connect to smaller nerves that control the movement in all parts of the arm and provide sensation in the arm.
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Anyone can damage these nerves at any age, but the injury most often occurs during childbirth.
Erb’s palsy may occur in any case of childbirth in which the baby’s head, neck, and shoulder get stretched too far.
The risk factors for brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy include:
- A baby of an abnormally large size
- Prolonged and challenging labor
- A baby in the breech, or bottom first, position
Although, in some cases, no one may be to blame for damage to the brachial plexus, this isn’t always the case. Erb’s palsy is often preventable and may result from medical malpractice.
Complications and Prognosis
The outlook for most babies born with a brachial plexus injury is good. Most often, the damage is minor and heals naturally in time. Most of these babies will heal and recover all function and sensation in an arm by three to six months of age.
If the damage is moderate to severe, though, a baby may end up with a long-term or even permanent disability.
In the worst situations, the nerves separate completely from the spinal cord. This is very painful and debilitating. Moderate to severe injuries are likely to require surgery and, even then, will probably not fully heal.
Children with permanent damage could have sensation in one arm, less movement, and even complete paralysis in the affected arm.
They’ll face the rest of their lives with a disability, with the expense of treatment and therapy, and with the need for specialized care.
Many children will overcome these challenges and live fulfilling lives, but they face a more significant burden than they would have if their birth injuries had been prevented.
An Erb’s palsy lawyer could help you determine if medical negligence played a role in your child’s injury. There are several ways in which your child’s brachial plexus injury could be the fault of a medical professional.
For instance, doctors monitor pregnant women for any possible complications. If your child was abnormally large or showed signs of being breech, your doctor should have noticed and made the appropriate decision regarding performing a Cesarean section.
A C-section is typically used to avoid these kinds of injuries that occur during arduous labor.
Another way your doctor could be negligible is how much force they used during delivery. If a baby presents as breech, or its head gets stuck in the pelvis or birth canal, a doctor or other medical professional may feel pressured to get the baby out as quickly as possible.
Pulling on the baby in these situations will get it through the birth canal, but pulling too hard can stretch the nerves and cause Erb’s palsy. Misjudging force can easily lead to injury.
Using instruments like forceps can also cause damage that should have been avoided.
Finding an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
If you suspect at all that your child’s injury during delivery was caused by doctor negligence, act quickly and talk to an Erb’s palsy lawyer as soon as possible.
There are statutes of limitation on medical malpractice cases, and it is also essential to work with a lawyer while the details of the incident are still fresh for you and any witnesses.
It is crucial moving forward that you work with a lawyer experienced in these kinds of cases. Without this expert guidance, you could make many mistakes and miss your chance to get compensation for your child’s future.
Look for a lawyer that has successfully brought birth injury cases to a successful conclusion.
Your lawyer should be able to show proof that they have won compensation for similar clients in the past and that those clients were satisfied with their work.
Filing a Lawsuit
To file a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice in the case of your child’s Erb’s palsy, you must be able to prove several things. A good Erb’s palsy lawyer will first be able to tell you if you have a case or not and then will be able to make your case by proving these points.
A valid lawsuit will show that your doctor or other caregiver was responsible for caring for you and your baby during delivery, that this person failed to care for you in one or more ways, and that this failure led to your baby’s injury and disability.
Potential for Compensation
If you genuinely believe that your child’s injury resulted from malpractice, what you probably want more than anything is justice and acknowledgment that your medical team failed you. This is important, but you also need to consider your child’s future.
Getting monetary compensation will help provide for that child’s treatment and support for the rest of his life.
Working with an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer will give you the best chance of getting the most compensation. This may be achieved through a settlement with your doctor or hospital, or a jury in a trial may award it.
A settlement is most likely because the hospital will avoid lengthy and costly litigation. Yet, if both sides disagree on the terms, your lawyer may want to take the matter to trial.
The amount of compensation your child may be eligible for will depend on several factors. It includes the extent of damage, the permanent nature of the injury, how much medical care your child is expected to need, and evidence against the negligent party.
Your compensation will also consider medical expenses, rehabilitation and equipment, and any possibly lost wages from missing work to care for your child.
For the best possible outcome for you and your child, be sure you work only with a professional and experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer.
Your child’s disability is something they may have to live with forever, and getting justice and compensation is crucial.
- Erb's Palsy. (n.d.). American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine.
Retrieved from: https://www.aanem.org/Patients/Muscle-and-Nerve-Disorders/Erb-s-Palsy
- Erb’s palsy – Who is to blame and what will happen? (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC).
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724163/