Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy

Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy

Phoenix Erb’s Palsy Injury Lawyers

Protecting victims of brachial plexus injuries and delivery negligence throughout Arizona

The birth of a baby should be exciting. A lack of proper care during labor and delivery can lead to serious trauma and injuries to the baby as he or she enters the world for the first time. If a medical professional acts negligently, you have the right to seek justice. The Phoenix birth injury lawyers of Plattner Verderame, P.C. can provide the legal assistance you are looking for if your child sustained brachial plexus injuries, such as Erb’s palsy, during delivery. Contact us today to learn more.

What is a brachial plexus injury?

The brachial plexus is “is a network of nerves that provides movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm and hand. The nerves supporting the arm exit the spinal column high in the neck; those that support the hand and fingers exit lower in the neck.”

In some deliveries, complications or acts of negligence can lead to damage to these nerves. Most of the time, it is related to the baby’s neck being stretched or overextended during birth. Some children will heal, and their lives will go on as planned. Others may sustain permanent injuries, which will affect their mobility for the rest of their lives.

brachial plexus injury photo

Photo from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

The four types of brachial plexus nerve injuries

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) categorizes damage to brachial plexus nerves in four ways:

  • Neurapraxia, which “shocks” but does not tear the nerve. Per AAOS, these injuries usually heal within 3 months.
  • Neuroma, which occurs when scar tissue develops and presses on the nerve. Some recovery may be possible.
  • Rupture, which is a tearing of the nerves. It will not heal on its own, and surgical intervention is most likely necessary.
  • Avulsion, which occurs when the nerve is torn from the spinal cord. There is no way to fix this type pf injury.

What is Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury affecting the upper nerves. The good news is, the condition is uncommon: about 1 out of every 1000 births will result in Erb’s Palsy, and the condition may eventually resolve on its own. In some cases, therapy or even surgery may be necessary to fix the injury. Some children, however, will sustain injuries that are permanent.

What are the signs of Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy, like all brachial plexus birth injuries, results in weakness in the affected area. The most common signs include:

  • Lack of movement in one of the arms
  • Limpness in one arm
  • Inability to grip different objects, including food and cups
  • Numbness or soreness in the arm

Some babies with Erb’s palsy can move their arms a bit, while others are completely impaired and cannot move the affected arms at all. If you believe your child may have an injury like Erb’s palsy, you should seek medical attention so the doctors can run the appropriate tests.

What causes Erb’s palsy?

Erb’s palsy is the result of stretching the nerve fibers. It can be the result of a car accident or overextending the arm while playing sports, but the most common causes are related to complications arising from childbirth, such as:

  • Breech position
  • Prolonged labor
  • Use of Pitocin or other labor-inducing drugs, leading to uterine hyperstimulation
  • Excessive pulling on the baby’s shoulders
  • Should dystocia
  • Excessive use of vacuum extraction or forceps
  • The baby being too large to fit through the birth canal easily
  • The mother’s pelvis being too small to allow for easy labor
  • Negligence during a C-section

In cases where a mother’s pelvis is too small, or a child’s head too large, doctors should recommend a caesarian section to avoid injuries during labor and delivery.

Did medical negligence lead to my child’s Erb’s palsy?

Perhaps. If a doctor failed to assess the situation and act appropriately – such as ordering a C-section, or failing to recognize uterine hyperstimulation – he or she may be responsible for your child’s birth injury.

The Phoenix Erb’s palsy attorneys of Plattner Verderame, P.C. works with trusted medical professionals when reviewing your and your child’s medical records, so that we can begin to build a case on your behalf. We can accurately value the costs associated with your care and your child’s care, as well as any future losses your child may suffer. If a medical professional is responsible for your child’s injury, we will fight to recover the compensation your child is due, so that you can create a safe and secure future for your family.

Call an experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyer today

Erb’s palsy is a serious condition that may have life-long effects on your child. In many instances, the condition is preventable, but has occurred because a medical professional has made one or more poor decisions while a woman was in labor. The Phoenix birth injury attorneys at Plattner Verderame, P.C. want to help. Please call us at 602-783-8793 or complete the contact form on our website to schedule a free consultation.

Text Us602-266-2002