The birth of a child is a joyous occasion. However, one of the greatest moments of your life can turn tragic in the event of a birth injury. One of the most common birth injuries is Erb’s palsy, a condition that affects roughly 2 out of every 1,000 babies. While 90% of babies born with Erb’s palsy are able to make a full recovery with the help of physical therapy and other treatments, the other 10% of babies often suffer lifelong limitations as a result of their birth injury.
Sadly, most instances of Erb’s palsy could easily be prevented if the medical team handling your child’s birth had taken the proper precautions. If your doctor failed to recognize the warning signs of Erb’s palsy or acted negligently during childbirth, you may be entitled to recover compensation in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The attorneys at Shapiro & Sternlieb have witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy, and we’ve helped many families in the Newark area recover compensation after this tragic incident. The best way to learn about your legal rights and options is to speak with one of our medical malpractice lawyers in person. Please call 732-617-8050 today to schedule a free consultation.
What is Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that results in damage to the nerves in the shoulder and arm. It is the most common type of brachial plexus injury.
The brachial plexus consists of a network of nerves that run from the top of the spinal column (in the neck region) through the collar bone and down into the arm. Erb’s palsy develops when these nerves become stretched or damaged during delivery, resulting in damage to the muscles in the area.
The severity of an Erb’s palsy injury varies depending on the extent of the nerve damage. In many instances, the injury may eventually heal with treatment. However, in severe cases, Erb’s palsy may cause permanent nerve damage resulting in partial or full paralysis in the shoulder, arm and hand.
Causes of Erb’s Palsy
One of the most common causes of Erb’s palsy is shoulder dystocia, a complication in which the baby’s shoulder gets stuck under the mother’s pelvis during childbirth and is unable to pass through. In most instances, the medical team handling your delivery should be able to identify the warning signs of shoulder dystocia and take the necessary precautions to avoid injury to the baby. However, the risk of Erb’s palsy increases significantly when this complication isn’t handled properly.
Erb’s palsy often develops due to the negligent actions of a medical professional. This may include:
- Failure to properly manage or diagnose the mother’s diabetes during pregnancy
- Inappropriate use of abdominal pressure during childbirth, which can make shoulder dystocia worse
- Failure to monitor and control the mother’s weight gain during pregnancy
- Failure to accurately evaluate the size and weight of the baby during the third trimester
- Inappropriate use of forceps, vacuum extractors or traction on the baby’s head and neck during delivery
- Failure to provide the mother with the option of a cesarean section when multiple risk factors exist
- Failure to properly diagnose and manage shoulder dystocia during delivery
- Inclusion of medical staff on the delivery team who aren’t properly qualified to manage the delivery
- Failure to deliver a post-due-date baby in a timely manner
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
The symptoms of Erb’s palsy vary based on the nature and extent of the nerve damage sustained. Common symptoms may include:
- Lack of muscle control in the arm, hand or wrist
- Limp or paralyzed arm
- Lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand
Erb’s Palsy Treatment
In most instances, Erb’s palsy is treatable, and your baby should be able to regain function of the shoulder, arm and hand. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Getting the proper treatment during the first few years of your child’s life can significantly impact the severity of your child’s disability later in life.
Depending on the extent of the nerve damage, your child’s Erb’s palsy treatment may include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Nerve grafts
Erb’s palsy treatment can be expensive, but these costs can be recovered as part of a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Shapiro & Sternlieb Can Help
The attorneys at Shapiro & Sternlieb can help you recover compensation if your child’s Erb’s palsy was caused by medical negligence. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Ongoing rehabilitation and other treatments
- Future costs associated with a lifelong disability
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
Our lawyers have nearly 60 years of combined experience. During this time, we’ve handled numerous birth injury cases and understand the sophisticated nuances associated with claims involving Erb’s palsy. Our lawyers will fight tooth and nail to hold all negligent parties accountable and maximize the value of your compensation.
Contact our Newark Birth Injury Lawyers
Please contact Shapiro & Sternlieb using the form on this page or call 732-617-8050 today to schedule your free consultation. We serve clients in Newark, New Brunswick, Englishtown and the surrounding areas of New Jersey.