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What Is Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy?

March 6th, 2017
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Birth Injuries on Monday, March 6, 2017.

When women go into labor, they have the right to a certain standard of care. It is natural to worry about birth defects during pregnancy, but no one should have to worry about birth injuries during delivery.




Unfortunately, birth injuries are more common than most soon-to-be parents realize, and they can happen during either C-sections or natural births. A review published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology revealed that infants delivered via C-section are simply at risk of different kinds of birth injuries than those delivered vaginally.

If your child suffered injuries as a direct result of negligence during delivery, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recover damages. David A. Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm has more than 30 years of trial experience. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule an initial consultation with a Jackson birth injury lawyer, and read on to learn more about brachial plexus birth palsy:

What Is Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy?

Brachial plexus birth palsy, or Erb’s palsy, is a birth injury that occurs as a result of damage to the nerves near the neck during delivery. The affected nerves control movement and feeling in the fingers, hand, arm and shoulder, resulting in reduced mobility, weakness and partial or total paralysis of the arm.

What Causes Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy?

Erb’s palsy typically arises as a result of complications during delivery. For example, a prolonged labor, a breech positioning or a high birth weight can all cause brachial plexus birth injury.

If complications arise during labor and the healthcare provider delivering the baby must use force to pull the baby from the birth canal quickly, it can strain the baby’s neck. This can also stretch the nerves in the neck and result in Erb’s palsy.

How Common Is Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy?

According to a report published in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, obstetric brachial plexus injury affects up to 3 infants per 1,000 live births around the world. In the United States, roughly one to two infants per 1,000 live births are born with the condition, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

How Do You Treat Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy?

Many infants with Erb’s palsy recover on their own, but children who have it must attend frequent doctor’s appointments so a healthcare provider can assess their progress. Since nerves recover slowly, it can take up to two years for the baby to overcome the condition entirely.

In order to facilitate recovery, parents can arrange for daily physical therapy sessions beginning when the baby is three weeks old. This is the main form of treatment for Erb’s palsy, and since the infant will not be able to move the affected arm alone, parents must take an active role in the treatment.

If there is no improvement in the arm by the time the child is six months old, surgery may be necessary. Depending on the extent of the condition, the best approach may be either a nerve graft or a nerve transfer; however, surgery will not restore the full function of the arm.

If your child has brachial plexus birth palsy and you believe it developed as a direct result of substandard care during delivery, turn to a birth injury lawyer at The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule an initial consultation with a Jackson medical malpractice attorney. You can learn more about medical malpractice claims in Mississippi by visiting the USAttorneys website

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