Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is a birth injury that affects many newborns on a yearly basis. Many times, it is due to a mistake made by the medical staff during birth. Such factors as overworked midwives, inexperienced doctors, and poorly supervised nursing staff members can make small but devastating errors leaving an infant with injuries that will last for his or her lifetime and parents with the responsibility and financial hardships of taking care of a child with what can be severe disabilities.

Erb’s Palsy can be caused by medical errors

Erbs Palsy is a severe nerve injury that might result in loss of movement or weakness in the infant’s arm. Also known as brachial palsy, Erbs Palsy happens when, during delivery, the bundle of nerves surrounding the baby’s shoulder (the brachial plexus) becomes damaged while the baby is being delivered.

Brachial plexus nerve damage is the result of certain situations including:

  • The infant’s head or neck being allowed to twist or pull to the side while the shoulders are passing through the birth canal
  • Pressure building on the infant’s raised arms during a feet-first (breech) delivery
  • Wrenching the infant’s shoulders during a head-first delivery

Erb’s Palsy Signs and Symptoms

An infant with Erb’s Palsy might show evidence of weakness or immobility in their upper arm, the upper and lower arm, or in the hand. These symptoms usually appear soon after birth.

Diagnosis is made by checking for shoulder fractures, taking X-rays, or using the Moro reflex test—otherwise known as the “involuntary startle test.” If the baby has Erb’s Palsy, the Moro reflex will be absent on the affected side of the baby’s body.

Avoiding the risk of birth injury

If the baby is delivered by Cesarean section (C-section), the risk of Erbs Palsy can often be avoided. If a difficult delivery is anticipated, the doctor or medical professional will take steps to prepare for and minimize the risks.

The common indicators of a difficult delivery include:

  • Breech presentation (feet first delivery)
  • The infant is above-average weight
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Diabetic mother

Filing an Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit

Infants diagnosed with Erbs Palsy sometimes make a full recovery within six to eight months without significant medical intervention. Others suffer more long-term consequences. If the infant has not recovered his arm strength within that six to eight month window after physical therapy, other options such as neuro-surgery or tendon transfer surgery might be necessary to fix the problem.

The birth injury lawyers of Balkin & Eisbrouch have specialized knowledge about birth injuries including Erb’s Palsy and are well-versed in the proper medical standards of care that might have been violated in causing birth injuries. If you have a child that has been injured and diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, you and your child may be entitled to compensation.

Call Balkin & Eisbrouch today to discuss filing an Erbs palsy lawsuit. We offer complimentary consultations and there is never a fee unless we win your case.