During labor and childbirth, there are a number of harms that could befall the infant. For the most part, competent physicians mitigate these harms for a safe delivery. In some tragic cases, however, infants suffer birth injuries. One such birth injury is Erb’s palsy, a type of brachial plexus disorder that can affect movement and feeling in the baby’s fingers, hand, and arm. An Erb’s palsy diagnosis doesn’t immediately mean grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit, but it is worthwhile to speak to an attorney to be sure. Our Fort Lauderdale injury team can discuss your case for free over the phone, in the hospital, or in our office.
About Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy happens when the nerves in the upper arm sustain damage. This group of nerves, called the brachial plexus, is responsible for the movement and feeling in the arms, wrists, fingers, and shoulders. Nerve damage to the brachial plexus can result in a number of symptoms depending on the severity. Infants may suffer avulsion, or the complete separation of the nerve roof from the spinal cord. This injury requires surgery for recovery. They may also suffer rupture, neuroma, or praxis in a brachial plexus injury.
Erb’s palsy is a condition that can cause partial or total paralysis of one arm, loss of feeling in the arm, or weakness in the arm. Children with Erb’s palsy can experience developmental delays due to lack of use in the arm. One arm may grow faster than the other. Most infants will fully recover from Erb’s palsy, but it can take years to fully regain use and feeling of the affected arm. Children may need significant treatment and rehabilitation during this time, both surgical and nonsurgical. In the most severe cases, the injury may require a nerve transfer to replace the damaged nerves.
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Erb’s Palsy and Medical Malpractice
Erb’s palsy can occur during a difficult delivery. If the infant’s head pulls to the side while in the birth canal, it can damage the brachial plexus. The infant’s shoulder can become lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone, requiring special maneuvers to prevent infant injury. If an incompetent or inexperienced doctor fails to take the necessary steps to prevent injury, these conditions can result in Erb’s palsy.
Brachial plexus injuries are preventable and should be expected. There are several risk factors that can lead up to these injuries, such as larger babies and gestational diabetes. Physicians should be prepared for the risk of complications such as breech delivery or shoulder dystocia in cases involving these risk factors. Failure to properly monitor the mother and infant during delivery or to take the appropriate emergency action to prevent a brachial plexus injury is negligence.
If you have reason to believe a reasonable and prudent doctor would have done something differently during your labor and delivery to prevent your child’s Erb’s palsy, you may have been the victim of medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale. Our personal injury attorneys want to speak with you about your traumatic birth experience and get to the bottom of who may be liable for your child’s injuries. You may be able to sue the individual doctor if he or she is an independent contractor or the birthing center/hospital if a nurse or other employee contributed to the incident.
Jason and Debi Chalik want to hear your story and are here to help. Call the Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik for a free consultation today.