Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus injury, can be a severe birth injury. It usually occurs when difficulties arise during vaginal birth, causing damage to the baby’s brachial plexus nerves. Depending on the degree of damage, it can permanently affect the nerves in the arms, shoulders and hands. The effects range from limited mobility of the shoulder, arm, and hand of the affected side, to more severe paralysis where the child has no muscle control in the affected area.
An Erb’s palsy injury can occur when there is excessive traction during vaginal birth and/or the baby’s shoulders get stuck on the mother’s pubic bone (shoulder dystocia) and the medical staff is unprepared or does not take proper action. Babies who weigh more than eight pounds are at a higher risk for injury. Risk factors for mothers include:
- Previous difficult births
- Previous large babies
- Previous need for a Cesarean section (C-section) birth
- Prolonged gestation
If your child is suffering from Erb’s palsy, you are not alone. Estimates indicate that 1 in every 1,000 babies born experiences an Erb’s palsy injury; however, because these injuries are highly preventable, they are often the result of birth trauma, a form of medical malpractice. An OB-GYN should make every effort to learn a patient’s medical history and inform her of any risks involved.
If you believe your child is suffering from Erb’s palsy due to medical malpractice, Pope & Howard, P.C.’s birth injury attorneys in Atlanta are here to help. We understand that Erb’s palsy can require multiple surgeries to treat, which not only puts your baby’s health at risk, but can greatly strain your family’s finances. Even multiple surgeries may leave a child with little arm use – that’s why we’re here to fight for you and your baby. Your child may be entitled to compensation.