Erbs Palsy and Brachial Plexus Birth Injury
Children with Erb's palsy often have partial or total paralysis of their hand, arm, or face. The most common cause of Erb's palsy is dystocia, which happens from a brachial plexus injury during a difficult childbirth.
Erbís palsy is a medical condition resulting from a brachial plexus injury. A brachial plexus injury during birth can cause a child and his or her family a lifetime of suffering and inconvenience. People with Erbís palsy often have a paralysis of their hand, arm, or face. The paralysis can either be a partial paralysis or a total paralysis.
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves which extends through the neck, armpit region, and arm. Erbís palsy is often caused by dystocia, which is a very difficult or abnormal childbirth. If for example the babyís head is too large to fit normally through the birth canal, a doctor may cause damage to the brachial plexus nerves by twisting and pulling on the babyís head and shoulders during delivery. These nerves can even be avulsed or actually pulled out of the sockets of the spinal cord if too much pressure is used.
A baby with brachial plexus can be identified, as the arm is immediately noticed to be limp and weak, and if it doesnít recover, the baby is left with a permanent injury, in which he or she can never move their hand or arm. In some cases, the nerves may repair themselves, but in many cases they require extensive physical therapy or surgery to help repair the damage, assuming the damage is repairable.
Examples of where medical malpractice may be the cause of the brachial plexus injury which caused erbs palsy include:
Failure to recognize the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal
Failure to perform a C-Section when necessary
Failure to turn and position the baby properly for vaginal delivery
Failure to estimate the correct delivery date and underestimating the size of the baby
Negligence in maneuvering the impacted shoulder during childbirth
When brachial plexus birth injury cases are explained to juries, the attorney needs to explain the anatomy of a baby, the circumstances the doctors were faced with, and what actions the doctors took to cause the injuries to the infants.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fagel staff
Dr. Fagel is an attorney and physician who represents plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases against doctors and hospitals exclusively on behalf of injured patients. His practice focuses on complex medical malpractice cases resulting in catastrophic injuries caused by doctor or hospital negligence, such as birth or brain damage, induced hypertension, wrongful death, cerebral palsy, Erb's palsy, nursing home negligence, misdiagnosis of cancer and paraplegia cases.
Dr. Fagel graduated from the University Of Illinois Medical College Of Medicine, M.D., 1972. He earned his law degree at Whittier College School of Law, Los Angeles, CA, J.D., 1982.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.