If your child has suffered from brachial plexus birth palsy, better known
as Erb’s palsy, then you need to know what to expect. Even if you’re
considering taking a settlement in your case, you need to know how this
disorder is going to affect your child, so you can make sure you get the
funding you need.
In the neck, there is a bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus. These
nerves spread out to create the entire nerve structure of the arms. Because
of the nerves, the arms, shoulders, fingers, and hands all have feeling
and can be moved.
When an accident takes place during birth that causes injury to the brachial
plexus, your child could lose motion in the arm, hand, shoulder, or fingers.
In some cases, there may be only weakness, but in others, there could
be a complete loss of motion.
It’s true that most babies who suffer from brachial plexus birth
palsy will recover. To get to the point of recovery, the child will need
daily physical therapy, though, and that does come at a significant cost.
With the right therapy, the child should, in most cases, recover feeling
and movement in the affected parts of the body.
If your child doesn’t fully recover, it could be because the nerves
were ruptured or torn away from the spinal cord. Sometimes, these injuries
can be repaired with surgery, but generally speaking, it’s not possible
to repair an avulsion, which is when the nerves are torn from the spinal
cord. In those cases, children are left with life-long injuries.
Was Your Child Diagnosed With Erb’s Palsy?
It’s important to consider all of the risk factors that could have prevented your child’s injury.
Negligence in prenatal care can be compounded by childbirth complications
caused by the size or position of the baby. An extra-large fetus is at
higher risk of becoming stuck in the mother’s pelvis. The shoulder
dystocia that occurs in the process can result in Erb’s palsy if
the obstetrician or nurse midwife applies excessive downward pressure
on the baby’s head while attempting to dislodge the stuck shoulder.
During labor, negligence may be indicated when an obstetrician has not
responded appropriately to the challenges of an oversized baby, an obese
mother, or other risk factors.