Erb’s palsy is a temporary or permanent paralysis caused by birth injury to your child. It is the result of torn nerves due to mishandling of the baby during the birth process, and, as a result, is almost completely preventable. Unfortunately, once Erb’s palsy has set in, treatment options are limited. Repeated surgical interventions may help a baby regain some degree of motion, but a small number of children with Erb’s palsy will never recover significant function.
If your baby has suffered a brachial plexus injury that resulted in Erb’s palsy, you may be able to receive compensation for your child’s injury. To learn more, please call 1-800 THE FIRM or email the Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation. We help families of Erb’s palsy victims in the Miami area and across southern Florida.
Cause of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is generally the consequence of a medical malpractice birth injury called brachial plexus injury. In brachial plexus injury, the nerves that leave the spine at about the level of the arms are damaged during birth. When these nerves are damaged, they lose their ability to carry signals between the muscles and the brain, resulting in full or partial paralysis of an arm.
The cause of damage to the nerves is most often a pull on the head or neck of the baby, going to one side or the other during head-first delivery. This can be pure carelessness or as a part of an attempt to have baby born faster, due to schedule or birth complications. It can also occur during a breech (feet-first) birth in which a baby’s arm becomes caught in the birth canal, pulling on the arm and damaging the nerves.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms and Treatment
The clinical symptoms of Erb’s palsy include:
- Arm cannot be raised
- Less able to bend elbow
- Paralysis of some muscles in the back
- At six months, development of contractures
- Deformation of the arm due to paralysis
- Lack of Moro reflex (startle due to very slight freefall of head) on one side
In addition, symptoms can be used to classify the type of palsy into more discrete categories:
- Brachial plexus injury affecting only the upper arm
- Erb’s paralysis affects both upper and lower arm
- Klumpke paralysis affects the hand and may also result in an eyelid droop on the opposite side.
Up to 90% of Erb’s palsy victims will recover full function without surgery, but the likelihood of recovery depends on the type and extent of the injury. In cases where spontaneous recovery does not occur, surgery may be used to release tension, or potentially even restore function to the affected arm, but not all children seem the same degree of results.
Compensation for Erb’s Palsy Victims
If your child suffered Erb’s palsy as a result of medical malpractice, a birth injury lawyer can help you pursue proper compensation. Compensation may be for you or your child and may help your child live a normal happy life despite the injuries. Compensation may be for:
- Medical expenses
- Diminished quality of life
- Disability and diminished earning capacity
Often children’s money will be placed in a trust fund to help them pay for college, which can help them overcome disparities due to the injury.
The only way to know for sure what compensation you may be able to receive is through a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer. To schedule your free consultation, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida, helping birth injury victims in Miami and across southern Florida.