Medical Negligence Resulting in Erb's Palsy

by David Zevan on Jan. 13, 2015

Accident & Injury Medical Malpractice Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Malpractice 

Summary: Some birth injuries are minor and heal on their own; others are serious and are life-changing.

Birth injuries are a parent's worst nightmare. While some birth injuries are minor and may heal on their own without medical intervention, others may be quite serious and have life-changing consequences for the baby. Many birth injuries are preventable and are caused by the negligence of a doctor. These injuries may require prolonged treatment and rehabilitation.

What is Erb's Palsy?

One or two of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffer from Erb's palsy. This medical condition is a type of brachial plexus palsy. Erb's palsy affects the brachial plexus nerves around the baby's neck and causes weakness and loss of mobility in the arm. According to St. Louis birth injury lawyers, most cases of Erb's palsy are a result of the infant's neck getting stretched during delivery.

The Cause of Erb's Palsy

Erb's palsy is a common birth injury that can be attributed to a difficult or challenging delivery. It commonly occurs in cases of deliveries involving breech presentation, unusually large size of the baby's head, or long duration of labor that may result in the the baby's neck being stretched. Erb's palsy is not a permanent condition in most cases, and the parents whose child has Erb's palsy can play a role in helping the child recover full function of the arm. Recovery depends on the severity of the condition and the treatment provided.

Recovery from Erb's Palsy

A large number of babies who have Erb's palsy are able to recover from the injury in about two years as the nerves heal. It is important that the doctor examines the baby diagnosed with Erb's palsy at regular intervals to make sure that the damaged nerves recover fully. Medical experts also recommend physical therapy for babies with Erb's palsy. Physical therapy can be started as early as when the baby is three weeks old and parents can perform range of motion exercises.

If the parents feel that their baby is not recovering as expected, they may consult a doctor, who may then recommend surgical treatment. If the baby does not recover within three to six months, a doctor may recommend a nerve transfer or nerve graft to help the child recover arm function. After the surgery, which is performed on the nerves of the neck, it may still take months for the baby to recover completely.

St. Louis Medical Malpractice Attorney

Even as the child with Erb's palsy grows older, he or she may still suffer from arm weakness. Some children with this condition may have one arm shorter than the other. If you suspect your child's injury is a result of medical negligence, consult with Zevan and Davidson Law Firm LLC at (314) 588-7200.

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