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Most children with Erb’s palsy recover and have no lasting effects. For some, though, the damage causes lasting and permanent disabilities. An Erb’s palsy lawsuit is an option if you believe your child’s condition resulted from medical negligence and should have been prevented.
Erb’s Palsy and its Causes
Erb’s palsy is characterized by weakness, loss of sensation, and paralysis in the arm. It can occur in any part of the arm or the entire arm, and the symptoms may be mild or severe, including total loss of sensation and movement.
The condition is caused by damage, ranging from mild to severe, to the nerves of the brachial plexus. These are the nerves that run from the spine to the arm, where they connect with smaller arms and provide sensation and the ability to move all parts of that limb.
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The general cause of Erb’s palsy is damage to one or more of the five brachial plexus nerves. Pulling on the arm, shoulder, or neck stretches those nerves. There are many ways that a pulling action can be strong enough to damage a baby’s nerves during childbirth.
A doctor may pull too hard if a baby gets stuck in the birth canal or by misusing instruments. If a baby is unusually large or presents as a breach, the risk for this kind of injury occurring is more significant.
A Lawsuit to Cover Expenses
If the damage caused by brachial plexus injury is moderate to severe, a child may need a lot of treatment. Even with treatment, some children may not recover fully, depending on the severity of the condition.
While many babies born with Erb’s palsy will heal, others will need physical therapy, surgeries, and possibly therapy and adaptive devices for life.
If your child faces multiple surgeries and other treatments, medical expenses can pile up quickly. Depending on your situation, an Erb’s palsy lawsuit may be a way to get the compensation needed to care for your child.
Medical Malpractice and the Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
You should file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit is if you feel like your child’s injury could and should have been prevented. Even if you don’t think your doctor actively did something to hurt your child, not taking action can be equally negligent.
For instance, if your baby was in the breech position, your labor showed signs of complications, and doctors failed to take action, they could be held accountable for any birth injuries sustained.
Another example of potential malpractice may occur if your doctor used too much force to help your baby out of the birth canal.
A common cause of Erb’s palsy is when the baby’s head gets stuck, and the delivering physician pulls too hard. Nerves can get stretched and damaged when doctors use too much force when delivering a baby.
Examples of an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit
Many parents have demanded accountability and justice for medical mistakes that harmed their children. In one example, a lawsuit brought in New York in 2013 resulted in $2.1 million in compensation for the child affected by Erb’s palsy.
The child’s mother claimed that medical professionals failed to give her appropriate prenatal care and that the midwife delivering her baby pulled too hard on the infant’s head.
The case eventually went to trial. After three weeks, six members of the jury agreed with the mother and her lawyers that medical negligence had occurred.
Not all Erb’s palsy lawsuits go to trial. Most will end in settlements to save the time and cost of a court case. If a solution is not satisfactory for the plaintiffs, it may go to trial.
How an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Can Help
A lawsuit is a way to get justice for your child living with a disability. It may not heal the child’s arm, but the sense of justice and accountability can be a powerful way to heal emotionally.
In more practical terms, a lawsuit can provide your family with compensation that will help pay for your injured child’s care.
Your child may need multiple surgeries to correct the damage, which is expensive. You could also lose money because you can’t go to work. You may need to stay home to care for your child.
Additionally, your child may need ongoing rehabilitation, therapy, and care and may need adaptive equipment to function normally.
If you are struggling because your baby has an injury that resulted in permanent Erb’s palsy, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit.
Let a lawyer with experience in birth injury cases help you take the next steps to file an Erb’s palsy lawsuit.
- Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy) OrthoInfoAAOS. (n.d.). American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Retrieved from: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00077
- Erb’s palsy – Who is to blame and what will happen? (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). National Institutes of Health.
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724163/
- Joe MahoneyThe Daily Star. (2013, April 18). Jury awards family $2.1M in malpractice case. The Daily Star.
Retrieved from: https://www.thedailystar.com/news/local_news/jury-awards-family-m-in-malpractice-case/article_3f65ea88-ee1e-501b-bc53-07d01abcb5c6.html