There are few things more exciting to a Pittsburgh couple than the prospect of having a child. While the focus is on all the positive things that can come with a new arrival, there are always potential risks that can come up when a child is born. One such danger is if the child is injured during birth and is found to have Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy can occur when the nerves close to the neck — known as the brachial plexus — are affected. They assist with moving and feeling sensation in the shoulder and all the way through to the fingers. If there is weakness, it is known as palsy.
A small percentage of babies suffer from Erb’s palsy. Out of 1,000 births, only two will have it. It is frequently the result of a rough delivery as the newborn’s neck becomes stretched to the side. Commonly, the baby will be able to recover from this issue. They might need to have physical therapy and extra attention from parents. The size of the baby often influences whether or not there might be a brachial plexus injury. Larger babies, breech babies or babies who take a long time to be born can have this issue.
There are also times when the parents and baby are victims of medical malpractice through some error made by the doctor or medical staff. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy include indication of weakness in one arm, a lack of feeling in the arm and paralysis that is either total or partial. Treatment for Erb’s palsy can include exercises starting soon after the baby’s birth. If there is no improvement after three to six months, it might be necessary to perform surgery to repair the problem.
The aftereffects of a brachial plexus injury can be substantial and costly. Erb’s palsy, while treatable, can become a long-term injury. The parents will need to keep a close eye on the child and the issues can persist. Considering the danger of birth injuries as a result of a medical mistake on the part of the delivery staff, the family of a child who is suffering from Erb’s palsy must ensure that a full investigation be conducted to determine how and why it happened. For that, discussing the case with a legal professional is imperative.
Source: orthoinfo.aaos.org, “Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy),” accessed on Apr. 21, 2015