Erb’s palsy is a potential outcome of shoulder dystocia, wherein an infant’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone during delivery. Shoulder dystocia can pin a baby’s neck and umbilical cord against the bone, cutting off oxygen to the brain and causing several health problems. Doctors have just minutes to resolve shoulder dystocia to prevent these harms. One such harm is Erb’s palsy – an adverse condition that stems from birth injuries. If doctors have diagnosed your child with Erb’s palsy, learn your rights with help from Anapol Weiss or contact a birth injury lawyer at our firm.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
About one or two in every 1,000 babies develop Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus disorder that happens when the nerves in the upper arm sustain damage during birth. Erb’s palsy is common when the brachial plexus injury affects Erb’s point, or the area near a baby’s neck where the fifth and sixth cranial nerves come together. The brachial plexus is responsible for movement and sensation in the arm, shoulder, hands, fingers, and parts of the neck. Babies with Erb’s palsy may struggle with feeling and motor skills in these areas.
Infants with Erb’s palsy often cannot move the shoulder or upper arm the injury affected though they may be able to wiggle their fingers. Compare this with Klumpke’s palsy, another birth-related brachial plexus injury that results in paralysis of the hand and fingers. If you notice any of these symptoms after the birth of your child, he/she may have sustained an injury causing Erb’s palsy:
- Inability to move shoulder or arm
- Arm bent toward body in an abnormal way
- Weak or no reflexes
- Loss of feeling in the arm
- Pain in the arm, shoulder, or neck
- High-pitched cries
- Decreased grip strength
These are all signs of Erb’s palsy. It is important for a doctor to diagnose Erb’s palsy as soon as possible and for patients to begin treatment right away. Erb’s palsy is typically not permanent with proper treatment and will fade away after a few months. However, some infants require rehabilitative therapies and surgeries to regain full use of the arm and shoulder. If left untreated, Erb’s palsy can result in full or partial paralysis of the affected arm, permanent arm weakness and/or numbness, and muscle atrophy.
When to Pursue Compensation for Erb’s Palsy
While not every instance of Erb’s palsy points to medical malpractice, some cases do. The question of malpractice comes down to the doctor’s negligence. If the doctor was negligent – meaning he/she deviated from the accepted standards in the medical industry – and this negligence caused your child’s injury, it is medical malpractice. The courts will ask whether another medical professional in the same situation would have reasonably performed the same way as the defendant to decide the question of negligence. As soon as you suspect negligence, contact a lawyer.
If your child suffered severe or permanent damage from Erb’s palsy, such as paralysis, disability, chronic pain, or symptoms that require surgery and rehabilitation, consult with an attorney. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your child’s injury-related medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost quality of life. The team at Anapol Weiss has experience proving medical malpractice in Pennsylvania and understands all related state and federal laws. We want to help you seek justice for your child.
Contact an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit Lawyer Today
Anapol Weiss offers free, no-obligation case evaluations so you can learn the merit of your potential case without charge. We will give you a summary of the potential laws that may come into play and a list of options you might have moving forward. To learn more about your child’s specific situation, call (866) 735-2792 or contact us online.