Distinction Between Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy

Staff Writer | January 14th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Birth Injury SignsCerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are serious birth injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects a child’s motor skills. Causes of cerebral palsy include interruption of blood flow to the brain and oxygen deprivation to the brain.

Erb’s palsy occurs when excessive force used to stretch the child’s neck during delivery causes damage to the nerves between the shoulder and the neck. Complications during birth and negligent medical treatment can put children at greater risk of developing either condition. The prognosis and type of medical care needed for a child with cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy differs based on the severity of the injuries.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury that occurred during fetal development, at birth, or shortly after birth. The injury interferes with nerve signals sent from the brain to the muscles. As a result, children with cerebral palsy have difficulties controlling their muscles and coordinating their body movements. Symptoms of the condition are muscle spasms, tight muscles, and an inability to control hands or feet. Medical issues associated with cerebral palsy include hearing impairment, vision loss, epileptic seizures, speech problems, and learning disabilities. Genetic disorders, emergency cesareans, premature birth, and the mother having an untreated medical condition increase the risk of a child getting cerebral palsy.

Some children with cerebral palsy die during infancy while others live through adulthood. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but medication, surgery, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are among the types of treatment a child can receive to address the multitude of health issues. More severe cases of cerebral palsy require treatment from a variety of medical professionals including a primary care physician, psychologists, therapists, nurses and educators who specialize in helping kids with disabilities. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average lifetime costs for taking care of a person with cerebral palsy is nearly $1 million.

Erb’s palsy

Applying too much force to the baby’s head during childbirth can damage the nerves responsible for movement of the shoulder, arm and hand. The set of injured nerves are called brachial plexus. A child is at greater risk of developing Erb’s palsy if there is a breech delivery, induced labor, vaginal delivery of a large baby, or the mother has a smaller pelvis that makes it difficult for the baby to exit the birth canal. Failure of the medical professionals to use appropriate delivery techniques will increase the probability of the baby being injured.

Symptoms of Erb’s palsy are a limp arm, lack of movement in the arm or hand, a weak hand grip, and an inability to keep the arm in a normal position. Physical therapy may help manage the symptoms. A mild injury can heal within six months. In some cases, the child may need surgery in order to help arm function properly, but limited range of motion and weakness in the limbs may be permanent. The most severe injuries result in permanent paralysis of the arm and shoulder.

Speak with cerebral palsy lawyers

When health care professionals provide substandard care to their patients, they are liable for their actions. If you believe negligent medical care was among the causes of cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy in your child, contact the birth injury attorneys at Balkin & Eisbrouch.

Our firm’s experienced cerebral palsy lawyers can help families of birth injury malpractice get the compensation they deserve. Schedule a free consultation at Balkin & Eisbrouch to discuss your options for filing an Erb’s palsy lawsuit.