Home » West Palm Beach Medical Malpractice Lawyer » West Palm Beach Birth Injury Lawyer » West Palm Beach Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
December 15, 2019
The birth of a child should be a wonderful, beautiful moment for both parents and the child. Thanks to modern medicine, that’s the case more often than not. However, there are still thousands of births in the US that aren’t as joyous as they should be. They’re marked by the realization that the newborn suffers from some sort of medical condition. Erb’s palsy is one such condition that is completely preventable, and is due almost exclusively to negligence and even malpractice on the part of the delivering doctor.
Erb’s palsy affects roughly 2 of every 1,000 children born in the US. It’s a nerve condition, similar to other types of palsy (but not cerebral palsy). In this condition, damage to a bundle of nerves near the neck causes weakness, loss of motion and numbness in a newborn’s arms. The actual name for Erb’s palsy is “brachial plexus birth palsy”.
While conditions like cerebral palsy may never improve over a child’s life (although CP will also not worsen), Erb’s palsy is different. In fact, there is a chance that your child can completely recover all range of motion, strength and feeling in his or her arms. Many cases resolve themselves over time with no help, but many others require physical therapy. Due to the wide range of severity gradations, some children may require surgery to rectify the problem. Physical therapy is not cheap, and surgery is very expensive. Erb’s palsy attorneys can represent you in court, fighting for you to receive the money necessary to cover treatment for your child in cases of medical malpractice and negligence.
The majority of cases heal themselves within 6 to 12 months after birth. However, more serious conditions can take longer to heal, and some will require medical intervention. In other cases, severe stretching of the brachial plexus will create scar tissue around healthy nerves, and full recovery is not possible (without surgical removal of the scar tissue). Thankfully, most situations can be diagnosed early through testing (the Moro reflex, or lack thereof, is often a giveaway).
Erb’s palsy can be caused by several different factors during birth. Any situation in which undue pressure is placed on the baby’s shoulders, or the brachial nexus itself, can result in this condition. For instance, if the child’s head is drawn to the side while exiting the birth canal, or if the shoulders are pulled excessively during delivery, Erb’s palsy can be the result. It can also be caused during breech births, due to the pressure placed on a newborn’s arms, which are generally raised as the baby comes out feet first. Large babies can also suffer a higher incidence of Erb’s palsy, as they have more difficulty exiting the birth canal.
Erb’s palsy and shoulder dystocia go hand in hand. Larger than average babies are much more likely to develop shoulder dystocia – while the head might be delivered normally, one of the shoulders often becomes stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone, requiring significant manipulation by the doctor to free the infant.
While some cases of Erb’s palsy are not related to medical negligence or malpractice, many of them are, and it can be very difficult to prove. You need the experience and skill of Erb’s palsy lawyer on your side to fight for your rights and the rights of your child in court. Physical therapy and surgery can be very expensive, and there’s no reason you should be forced to bear those costs alone. Contact us at the law offices of Casey D. Shomo.