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Can Medical Malpractice During Childbirth Cause Erb’s Palsy?

 Posted on December 11, 2020 in Medical Malpractice

Rockford medical malpractice lawyersHave you ever stopped to consider how often you use your arms? Most people use their arms to drive, eat, work, clean, and perform countless other tasks. When an injury causes someone to experience reduced functioning in one or both arms, this can have a major impact on his or her life. Erb’s palsy is a condition typically caused by difficulties during a child’s birth that results in partial or complete paralysis of the arm. Sometimes, surgery and other medical interventions can remedy the paralysis and loss of sensation. In other cases, an infant who suffers from Erb’s palsy is left with impaired functioning and disfigurement for the rest of his or her life.

How Does Erb’s Palsy Occur?

Erb’s palsy is typically caused by damage to a network of nerves in the neck and shoulders called the brachial plexus. In the majority of cases, the nerve damage is caused by a complication during birth called shoulder dystocia. When an infant suffers shoulder dystocia, one or both of the infant’s shoulder’s become stuck in the birth canal. There are four main categories of Erb’s palsy:

  • Neuropraxia: Neuropraxia occurs when the infant’s nerves are unnaturally pulled or stretched. The nerve damage does not typically cause long-term complications and may heal in as little as three months.
  • Neuroma: When the nerves are stretched so far that nerve fibers break, this damage may not be able to heal on its own.
  • Rupture: Extreme tension on the nerves can cause them to be torn in half. Nerve damage such as this typically requires surgery and can lead to severe impairment.
  • Avulsions: When the nerve is torn completely away from the spinal cord, the infant could suffer from difficulty breathing and long-term paralysis of several parts of the body.   

When is a Doctor Liable for an Infant Suffering from Erb’s Palsy?

If your baby suffers from Erb’s palsy, you may wonder if the birth injury could have been prevented. You may suspect that some type of medical mistake during the birth process is to blame for your child’s injury. Erb’s palsy can happen for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, failure to account for risk factors such as maternal obesity or diabetes, misuse of assistive tools like forceps or a vacuum, and other forms of medical negligence are the root cause of Erb’s palsy.

Contact a Winnebago County Birth Injury Lawyer

Erb’s palsy can lead to partial or complete paralysis and loss of sensation in the arm. If your child suffers from Erb’s palsy, a Rockford medical malpractice attorney from Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS can help determine if the condition was caused by medical malpractice during birth. Call our office at 815-215-7561 and schedule a free, no-obligation case review.




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