Having a baby is a thrilling, terrifying time for new parents. Delivery is both a miracle and a physical feat for the new mom. While most deliveries progress smoothly, it is not easy to give birth to a child. In some cases, factors surrounding the birth can make the birth even more difficult and can have negative effects on the baby. The child can suffer injuries during labor and delivery that have lasting effects. Though rare, birth injuries do occur and the baby is left to suffer the consequences. One common birth injury is known as Erb’s palsy, a disorder that affects the nerves and muscles of the hand and arm.
A rare disease, affecting one or two children out of 1,000, Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury. Brachial plexus injuries are common birth injuries that involve the network of nerves located near the neck that provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, hand, arm, and fingers. Erb’s palsy injuries affect the upper nerves, causing weakness in one or more parts of the arm. Symptoms of Erb’s palsy may be identified shortly after birth and may include:
While these symptoms may be clues that there is a problem, they severity of the symptoms may vary based on the extent of the injury. Erb’s palsy is typically diagnosed through a physical exam and a number of other tests, including x-rays, ultrasound, or other studies. Physicians may also conduct nerve tests to see if the nerves have been damaged.
There are four main types of nerve injuries that can result in Erb’s palsy. A child may experience more than one type simultaneously. The types are:
There are many risk factors for Erb’s palsy. While many babies are born healthy despite these risks, they can help identify the problem. Erb’s palsy is most common in babies who:
Often, these risk factors increase the likelihood that the baby will be pulled or strained through the birth canal. This pulling can result in the stretching of the neck and the brachial plexus nerves, causing the injury and Erb’s palsy.
Many children can achieve a partial to full recovery from their palsy through medical interventions.
These interventions can include:
Surgical and non-surgical interventions are often used together to help injured children achieve the maximum amount of movement, feeling, and control. Often these treatments are successful. However, not all children will be able to fully restore function, and even those who do must endure the treatment and possible pain.
If your child has Erb’s palsy as the result of a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Families of those children may be able to secure financial support to pay for medical treatment, specialized equipment, therapy, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced attorney can help families understand their legal rights and help them obtain compensation. New York birth injury lawyer Gerry Oginski has been representing injured children and their families for over 28 years. Call Oginski Law today at (516) 487-8207 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.