Erb’s palsy is a relatively common condition in newborns that occurs in approximately 2 in every 1,000 children in the United States. The seriousness of the condition varies, and numerous treatment options are available, but whether Erb’s palsy is permanent remains a concern for many families.

If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you suspect they were a victim of medical malpractice during delivery, contact a birth injury lawyer at Wagner Reese to learn your legal options.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy is a condition resulting from damage to the nerves in the brachial plexus, a network of nerves in the neck that controls movement and sensation in the arms and hands.

This damage can occur during childbirth when excessive force is applied to the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders, causing the nerves to stretch, tear, or rupture. As a result, the affected arm may be weak or paralyzed, and the individual may experience a loss of sensation, difficulty with motor control and coordination, and other related symptoms.

Is Erb’s Palsy Caused by Medical Malpractice?

In some cases, Erb’s Palsy is caused by medical malpractice, which refers to negligent or improper care provided by healthcare professionals. For example, medical malpractice can occur when a healthcare provider fails to properly monitor the baby’s position during delivery or uses excessive force during the delivery process.

This can lead to traumatic injuries, such as brachial plexus injuries, resulting in Erb’s palsy. Infants delivered via forceps or vacuum extraction also have a higher risk of developing Erb’s palsy.

Medical malpractice cases involving Erb’s palsy can be complex, requiring a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the injury and the actions of the healthcare provider involved. If it is determined that medical malpractice played a role in the development of the condition, the child and their family may be entitled to compensation to help cover the costs of medical treatment, ongoing care, and related expenses.

What Type of Injuries Cause Erb’s Palsy?

The severity and type of injury to the nerves in the brachial plexus can vary depending on the circumstances and can impact the degree and type of symptoms experienced. The main types of injuries that cause Erb’s Palsy include:

  • Avulsion: Avulsion refers to the most severe type of brachial plexus injury, in which the nerve is completely torn away from the spinal cord. This type of injury is typically irreversible and may require surgical intervention to repair or replace the damaged nerve.
  • Rupture: A rupture is an injury in which the nerve is partially torn or stretched but not completely severed. Depending on the severity of the rupture, this type of injury may be reversible with physical therapy or other non-surgical treatments.
  • Neuropraxia: The injury is known as neuropraxia when the nerve is stretched or compressed but not torn. This is the mildest type of brachial plexus injury and may be reversible with time and rest.
  • Neuroma: Neuroma refers to a type of injury in which scar tissue forms around the damaged nerve, which can lead to ongoing pain, numbness, and weakness. This type of injury may require surgical intervention to remove the scar tissue and repair the nerve.

Is Erb’s Palsy Permanent?

The injury is irreversible if the limb remains denervated without treatment for more than 18 months. While many individuals with Erb’s palsy can regain some degree of function with physical therapy and other treatments, the condition can have lifelong complications and impact daily life and activities.

One of the long-term complications of Erb’s palsy is the potential for permanent disability in the affected arm. This can impact the ability to perform daily activities, such as dressing, bathing, and cooking, and limit participation in sports, hobbies, and other activities. Additionally, individuals with Erb’s palsy may be at increased risk of developing secondary complications, such as muscle atrophy, joint contractures, and chronic pain.

How to Receive Compensation for Your Child’s Erb’s Palsy

If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you believe medical malpractice was the cause, your family may be entitled to compensation. Pursuing compensation can help cover the costs of your child’s medical bills, ongoing care, and related expenses, and provide justice for the harm done to your child.

You may need to take legal action against the healthcare provider or facility responsible to receive compensation for your child’s Erb’s palsy. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you gather evidence, file a lawsuit, and negotiate a settlement or take your case to trial.

To build a strong case for medical malpractice, your attorney must demonstrate that the healthcare provider or facility breached their duty of care, which means they failed to provide the standard of care that a reasonable healthcare provider would have provided in similar circumstances. This may involve reviewing medical records, consulting with medical experts, and gathering witness statements, whch can be done with the help of a medical malpractice attorney.

Get the Legal Representation You Need

Erb’s palsy is a serious condition that can have lifelong complications for affected individuals and their families. If you suspect that medical malpractice played a role in the development of your child’s Erb’s palsy, reach out to our legal team for a free consultation.

For more than 20 years, our attorneys have been dedicated to helping families get the support and compensation they need to move forward and live full, productive lives after medical malpractice. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and how we can help you.