Doctors and hospitals are responsible for providing a safe delivery experience to parents and their babies, but sometimes there can be delivery complications that result in an injury at birth. When medical negligence occurs in the delivery room, it can lead to devastating birth injuries. One of these injuries is Erb’s palsy, which typically affects the shoulder.
If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, contact an experienced birth injury lawyer at Nessler & Associates. Our medical malpractice attorneys use their knowledge and experience to take legal action against the healthcare providers, the delivery team, and the hospital facility for the financial compensation your child deserves for the lifelong injuries caused by Erb’s palsy.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury (BPI) that stems from damage to the brachial plexus nerves that run down from the neck down into the arm and hand. This cluster of brachial nerves helps control muscle movements in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist.
Stretching the nerves can damage them and even tear nerve tissue during the birthing process. Paralysis can occur on one side or both sides of the body, depending on how much nerve damage was done during the delivery process.
The risk factors of Erb’s palsy in a baby during delivery include:
- Above-average sized infant
- Long, difficult labor
- Buttock-first (breech) delivery
What are the Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy?
The symptoms of Erb’s palsy occur as soon as the baby is delivered. A child’s symptoms of Erb’s palsy vary depending on the severity and type of injury they suffered. Parents and healthcare professionals may notice the following symptoms of Erb’s palsy in a newborn:
- Pain and discomfort
- Weakness and numbness in one arm
- Loss of feeling in an arm
- Decreased grip
- Partial paralysis or complete paralysis of arm function
- Limited range of motion in the shoulder and elbow
- Waiter’s tip position in which the fingers curl and the palm of the hand towards the back
- The arm is in an odd position, such as hanging limply or bending toward the torso
If the condition is left untreated, it can decrease nerve function by 20 to 30%. Persistent Erb’s palsy in children can lead to lifelong repercussions such as reduced strength, lack of coordination, and osteoarthritis.
How Does Medical Negligence Cause Erb’s Palsy?
An Erb’s palsy attorney can help you decide if medical malpractice was a factor in your child’s birth injuries. A medical professional could have caused the injury in a few ways.
Your medical professional may have to move the baby’s head to one side in a difficult delivery situation such as a breech birth. With shoulder dystocia, when the baby’s shoulders cannot move in the birth canal, the doctor may also need to move the head.
If the child was large or had signs of a breech presentation, a doctor or another member of the delivery team should have recognized that a C-section would have prevented the injury to the brachial plexus.
Assistive delivery tools
If the baby is too large or can’t move against the pelvic bone, the healthcare provider may need to use assistive delivery tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors. Excessive pulling using such delivery tools with force can stretch the nerve fibers in the brachial nexus.
What Treatments are Available for Erb’s Palsy?
Some causes of Erb’s palsy resolve themselves after 3-4 months. You can work with your healthcare provider on a medical care plan for your infant involving physical therapy and stretching exercises, starting at three weeks old.
After six months, if the palsy has not improved, the healthcare provider may recommend surgery. These surgeries involve repairing the damaged nerve with nerve grafts and nerve compression. Another type of surgery involves the transfer of muscle or tendon to replace the damaged tissue.
Your lawyer can review all medical records and bills from your child’s treatments to put together a medical malpractice claim for compensation.
What Damages Are in an Erb’s Palsy Compensation Claim
The compensation you may receive for your child’s Erb’s palsy injuries depends on several factors. These factors involve the severity of the injury, the amount of medical care your child needs, and the evidence against the responsible parties. Your compensation may include:
The cost of your child’s medical care for all related personal injuries from Erb’s palsy is critical to determining how much compensation you can receive. The medical bills you can be compensated for include hospital bills, physical therapy costs, and other treatment expenses.
This type of compensation can cover you for any ongoing treatment and therapy after your child’s initial recovery period. Your child may need to go through occupational therapy sessions to help them regain mobility and strength in their arms and hands.
This includes braces or splints that are used to help your child regain mobility in their arms and hands after surgery or other types of treatment. An experienced attorney can go over how long your child needs this equipment and how much it costs to buy it.
Loss of wages
If you had to take time off to care for your child, you must prove how much money you would have made if your child had not been injured. Documentation such as W-2 statements or pay stubs can show what you earned before the injury.
Working with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer from Nessler & Associates can offer you the best opportunity to get compensation for treatment on behalf of your child. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance companies of the delivery team and their hospital facility for a birth injury settlement. If needed, your lawyer can prepare to take your case to court.
Get the Legal Help You Deserve for Your Child’s Erb’s Palsy
If you believe your child’s Erb’s palsy resulted from medical malpractice, contact an Erb’s palsy lawyer at our law firm. The medical malpractice lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you with the legal process of filing a birth injury lawsuit against the responsible parties, so you get a fair settlement. We have successfully represented birth injury victims and their families for more than 35 years.
Contact us today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule a free consultation with a birth injury attorney to start the litigation process for your birth injury claim. Our law firm operates on a contingency fee basis, so there is no risk for you to get started. We don’t charge legal fees unless we win a settlement or judgment for your case.