Medical Malpractice Causing to Erb’s Palsy
New York Birth Injury Lawyers Help Recover Compensation for Babies with Erb’s Palsy
New York Erb’s palsy lawyers understand that the birth of a child should be a joyful, exciting time, and it usually is. In 1 or 2 out of every 1,000 births, however, a baby suffers an injury that results in Erb’s palsy. Erb-Duchene palsy or Erb’s palsy as it is commonly known is paralysis of the arm caused by an injury to the upper group of the arm’s nerves. Erb’s palsy is almost always the result of activity during the birthing process, and in many instances is caused by the negligent actions of the medical staff. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care, and if negligence caused your baby’s injury, you might have a medical malpractice claim.
The severity of Erb’s palsy varies from case to case. At times, it is fully treatable and at other times it can have effects that last a lifetime. Regardless of the current condition of your child, if he or she experienced a birth injury such as Erb’s palsy or cerebral palsy, you should speak to the New York birth injury lawyers at Leeds Brown. If someone’s negligence or medical malpractice caused your child’s injury, you should hold them accountable. We can help determine if negligence caused Erb’s palsy. You may be able to collect monetary damages for costs associated with your child’s injury and treatment such as medical expenses and pain and suffering.
New York Erb’s palsy attorneys at Leeds Brown have decades of experience recovering compensation for the families of babies with birth injuries. Our dedicated lawyers take a compassionate, hands-on approach to these cases, all the while being sensitive to the trauma you may be experiencing. We can successfully navigate your medical malpractice claim, allowing you to focus on what’s most important – your child’s well-being.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
Injury to the brachial plexus is what causes Erb’s palsy. The brachial plexus is the location of a network of nerves that give rise to all of the nerves of the arm. This grouping of nerves is located near the neck and provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. When there is an injury to this area during labor and delivery, the result is nerve damage which leads to weakness and loss of movement in the affected arm.
What Causes Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is almost always the result of an injury during the labor and birthing process. It is the result of pulling, twisting or banging of the neck or shoulders of the baby in a manner that causes trauma to the brachial plexus. Some common causes of Erb’s palsy during delivery include;
- The doctor may tug or pull too hard on the baby’s head and neck
- The doctor may twist the baby’s neck
- During a breeched birth, the doctor may pull on the baby’s legs and feet which result in the shoulders and arms rising above the baby’s head causing shoulder breakage or dislocation and nerve damage
- The doctor may pull on the baby’s arms during delivery
- Shoulder dystocia- this occurs when the newborn’s shoulder becomes wedged against the mother’s pelvic bone in the birth canal. The doctor may need to shift the baby’s shoulder to get the baby out. When a doctor applies too much force on the head or shoulder, Erb’s palsy results.
- The use of tools to assist with delivery such as forceps
New York Medical Negligence Causes Erb’s Palsy
When a child suffers a birth injury that results in Erb’s palsy, it is important to consider whether medical negligence is the reason. For example, there are often factors during pregnancy that increase the likelihood of having a difficult delivery and a birth injury. If those signs exist and the doctor did not catch them or failed to prepare for the more dangerous delivery conditions, he or she may have acted negligently.
Shoulder dystocia, for instance, occurs more often when a baby has a large birth weight. Large birth weight can occur when the mother has diabetes, or the baby is overdue. Shoulder dystocia also is more likely to occur when the mother has an unusually small pelvis.
One may argue that in these instances, to decrease the risk of a birth injury, a doctor should recommend a caesarean section to remove the baby safely. The failure to do so may be considered negligent. Perhaps the doctor failed to recognize the early signs of danger or properly assess the risk. Perhaps the doctor pulled on the baby’s head instead of using reasonable and acceptable maneuvers to extract the baby in a safe manner.
The New York Erb’s palsy attorneys at Leeds Brown can help determine if negligence or malpractice caused your child’s injury. We have the experience to know what evidence to look for and what questions to ask. Our attorneys can expertly negotiate with a big insurance company and will work tirelessly to build a negligence case against your doctor and hospital if that’s what it takes to secure the outcome you want.
Living with Erb’s Palsy: Symptoms and Treatments
The symptoms of Erb’s palsy are fairly easy to detect, but a doctor can confirm the diagnosis with x-rays, ultrasounds or nerve imaging tests. Because Erb’s palsy can affect the growth of the arm and shoulder, it is important to determine the extent of the damage before deciding on the appropriate treatment. The most common symptoms are:
- Arm bent inward towards body
- No reflexes or very weak reflexes
- Little or no movement of arm or shoulder, paralysis
- Problems gripping objects
- Numbness or pain
Treatment for Erb’s palsy varies with the severity of the injury. Some babies recover from Erb’s palsy on their own but need to see a doctor at regular intervals to monitor their progress. It can take years for nerves to regenerate and heal on their own.
Daily physical therapy is the main non-surgical treatment for Erb’s palsy. Because the newborn is unable to move the arm, it is necessary for a therapist and the parents to actively engage the arm and shoulder in exercise to keep the muscles strong. Frequent daily exercising of the arm, shoulder, hands, and wrist are essential to recovery. A child with Erb’s palsy may require years of physical therapy.
Surgery is also an option for babies with Erb’s palsy, especially when physical therapy does not appear to be working. A surgeon may try to do a nerve graft or nerve transfer to give an infant a better chance at having some reasonable amount of arm and shoulder function.
In many cases, children live with some effects of Erb’s palsy for their entire life. It is rare to recover full range of motion and use after significant nerve damage. One of the most lasting effects is that the affected arm will grow at a slower rate than the other causing the arms to look different. Unfortunately, the size difference becomes greater and more apparent as the child ages.
New York Erb’s Palsy Attorneys Help File Malpractice Claims
If your child has Erb’s palsy, it was likely caused by an injury during birth. You should consider contacting Leeds Brown to begin determining if the injury was the result of medical malpractice. No parents should have to watch their child suffer from an injury that was avoidable. Your child may face surgery and years of hard work trying to regain use of their shoulder and arm. While compensation won’t change the facts, it may help you with the financial stress that can come with caring for a child with special needs.
Surgery and daily physical therapy can be quite costly, and your health insurance may not cover all of the expenses. Perhaps you will need to quit your job and stay home with your child to ensure he or she gets the proper amount of exercise and therapy needed. As your child grows, it may become even more difficult to deal with the emotional as well as physical effects of Erb’s palsy.
Pursuing a malpractice claim may result in a financial award that can help alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with having a child with Erb’s palsy. Compensation can cover medical expenses, lost wages and pain, and suffering.
You can reach the New York Erb’s palsy attorneys at Leeds Brown 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658. You don’t have to go through this alone. Preserve your rights to recover compensation for your child’s injury and call Leeds Brown today.