When your child has suffered a birth injury or you discover that your baby has a serious medical problem, your first concern will be providing the care the child needs and to enhance his or her quality of life. You’ll be wrapped up in finding out what type of medical care will be required, and what limitations your child may face. The reason for the injury may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, knowing whether a third party is responsible for the injury can play an important role in giving your child the best life possible.
Erb’s palsy is a temporary or permanent paralysis caused by damage to a bundle of nerves in the shoulder, called the brachial plexus. Telltale signs include:
Of course, some of these signs may not be immediately apparent in an affected infant, who will not be trying to grip objects shortly after birth and cannot communicate information about pain or reduced sensation.
Erb’s palsy is not a condition that occurs naturally. Rather, it results from an injury to shoulder nerves. Such an injury during birth is fairly common, occurring 1 or 2 of every 1,000 live births. While this type of injury occasionally occurs during a birth by Caesarian section, it is more commonly associated with excessive pulling during the birth. In that situation, or during a breech birth where the arms are positioned over the head, stretching of the shoulder nerves may occur.
Fortunately, the majority of brachial plexus injuries are relatively short-lived, and the baby recovers and full range of motion is restored within weeks or months. In many cases, recovery is aided by gentle massage, range of motion exercises, or even a course of physical therapy. In more serious cases, surgical intervention may be required.
The degree to which treatment is successful varies, and some children affected by Erb’s palsy will suffer long-term, or even permanent, limitations.
Understanding your child’s medical condition and the type of treatment and assistance required is just the first step. Surgery, long-term treatment, ongoing physical therapy and lifestyle adaptations to help your child recover to the degree possible and live a good life can be expensive and time-consuming.
If Erb’s palsy is the result of a birth injury, you may have a medical malpractice claim against the obstetrician, the hospital, or other medical personnel. Investigating who was responsible for the injury and pursuing fair compensation will help you to provide your child with the care he or she needs to live with the lasting effects of Erb’s palsy.
Although you have 2 ½ years in which to file a medical malpractice case, delay is generally not in your best interest. Talk to one of our experienced Erb’s palsy attorneys right away to learn more about how we can help you secure the funds necessary to care for your injured child. Just call 212-732-2929 or fill out the contact form on this page to get started.
Featured image credit: By Mattopaedia