Erb’s Palsy and Negligence in Birth Injuries

It may seem inconceivable that a birth injury can still occur in this day and age of modern science and technology, but unfortunately, it does. Statistics indicate that on average 3 newborns sustain some type of birth injury an hour in the US. That’s about 7 for every 1,000 births. Not all of these can be attributed to medical malpractice; being born is an inherently traumatic experience and sometimes it can result in injury, even death. However, some injuries lend themselves more to an interpretation of negligence. One such birth injury is Brachial Plexus Nerve Palsy, otherwise known as Erb’s palsy.

Erb’s palsy is a physical injury to the baby that can only occur during normal delivery. The injury centers on the brachial plexus, a group of nerves located in the area of the neck. Functionally, the brachial plexus has control over hand and arm movements. Injury to these nerves can lead to some numbness and weakness in one arm. Depending on the extent of the physical trauma, Erb’s palsy may also result in total or partial use of one arm temporarily or permanently.

The trauma occurs when the delivery has some complications such as breech birth, abnormally long labor, or a proportionally too-large baby. The website of The Driscoll Firm lists the causes of trauma to include excessive pressure exerted on the shoulder which may stretch the neck too much; alternatively, the injury could be caused by the incorrect use of forceps, which is used to assist delivery. Either way, such an injury may be considered medical malpractice, and may render the delivering physician liable in a personal injury claim.

In most cases, the effects of Erb’s palsy resolve on its own without any treatment within 3 months, but not always. If you or a family member has a child who suffers from Erb’s palsy, and believe it occurred because of negligence on the part of the physician or the hospital staff, than you may be able to get some compensation for it to help in treatment and management of the injury. Consult with an Erb’s palsy lawyer in the area today and find out more.

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