Birth injuries due to negligence and medical malpractice can have lasting consequences on the victims and their families. Some injuries, such as lacerations and bruising, are more minor and could often heal with time. Others can be chronic and disable the infant for the duration of their life. Erb’s palsy is an affliction that is caused by an injury received during birth. The effects of Erb’s palsy vary between mild and serious, depending on the extent of the injury.
Erb’s palsy occurs when damage is done to the nerves in the baby’s upper arm, near the Erb’s point. This is the upper point of the brachial plexus, which is why Erb’s palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder.
Babies who suffer from Erb’s palsy have tremendous trouble using their arm. It often looks as if the arm is completely paralyzed. This is because the nerves in the brachial plexus are responsible for movement, as well as feeling, in the arms, hand and fingers. In the most severe cases, both the upper and lower parts of the brachial plexus are damaged. This is known as global brachial plexus palsy.
Damage to these nerves can occur during the birth process if the practitioner pulls the baby in a way that stretches the nerves. This is common in breech babies and difficult deliveries. If you suspect that your child suffered a birth injury, such as Erb’s palsy, during delivery, speaking with an experienced attorney could be very beneficial to your situation.