Erb's Palsy

What are the Causes of Erb's Palsy?

Erb's palsy can occur during the delivery process as the result of shoulder dystocia. If a baby's shoulder becomes stuck on the mother's pubic bone during delivery, the nerves that control movement and feeling in the shoulder, arm and hand may be injured.

In many cases, Erb's palsy is caused by a medical mistake during the delivery process. This mistake may be made during the course of normal care and treatment, by the failure to take necessary precautions, or may be related to the failure to identify and/or react to a complication during delivery. A simple lapse in judgment can result in a lifetime of devastation for parents.

What Results in a Brachial Plexus Injury?

If a doctor or other medical professional in the delivery room overreacts or uses excessive force after a baby becomes stuck, it could result in a brachial plexus injury. Too much force or traction applied on the newborn baby's head is dangerous and may be a factor in causing Erb's palsy.

Therapy and treatment for Erb's palsy can be expensive. If a brachial plexus injury occurred due to the malpractice or negligence of your doctor, you need to know your rights and what you may be entitled to in a claim.

What are the Symptoms of Erb's Palsy?

Symptoms of Erb's palsy may include:

  • Little to no muscle control
  • Lack of feeling in the arm of hand
  • Inability to move or to move with control
  • No use of the shoulder or elbow
  • Paralysis of the arm, including the hands and fingers
  • Facial paralysis
  • Inability to sit up without assistance
  • Inability to crawl without assistance
  • Numbness in the arm and no response to nerve stimulus

Surgery may be necessary in some cases to repair nerve damage and restore feeling and control to the impacted areas. The treatment and care associated with this disorder is often extensive and costly.

Shoulder Dystocia Often Results in Erb's Palsy

The condition that is referred to as "shoulder dystocia" is a birth defect that can occur during child birth, often as the result of obstetric negligence. This condition happens when a child's head is able to clear, but one shoulder of the baby is trapped behind the mother's pelvis during the delivery.

When delivery room doctors see that a baby is stuck during the delivery process, there should be tremendous concern regarding the welfare of that child. There are specific medical techniques that can be employed to manage the labor and reduce the risk of shoulder dystocia.

When obstetricians and other medical professionals do not act in a timely or proper fashion, the resulting effects can cause severe injury to the infant and/or the birth mother.

Was Negligence a Factor with Shoulder Dystocia?

Delivery room doctors and nurses are trained to handle the panic and high pressure situations that often come along during the delivery process, including the steps to take when things go wrong. Mistakes are easy to make, however, when the proper procedures are not followed or when medical professionals act carelessly during the process.

When doctors do not employ the correct techniques, and try to force a baby out, significant harm may be caused as a result. While not all cases of shoulder dystocia are the product of medical malpractice, your lawyer should look to see if negligence was a factor.

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