Erb’s Palsy: What Florida Parents Need to Know
Medical errors during delivery can put both mother and infant at risk of serious injuries, and one of the most common forms of birth injury is Erb’s Palsy. Though it’s often a treatable condition, this medical condition is costly and can limit your child’s natural development. You have rights as a parent if your baby suffers from such a condition as a result of negligence, and a Florida birth injury lawyer can explain how these cases work in more detail. Some general legal information may also be useful.
Overview of Erb’s Palsy: According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Erb’s palsy is an injury to the brachial plexus, a series of nerves near the baby’s neck and shoulders that feeds into the nerves of the arm. This nerve network also connects that side of the infant’s upper body to the spinal cord. A brachial plexus injury can lead to weakness, loss of motion, and limited use. In the most serious cases, where the network of nerves is torn, there can be complete paralysis of the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand.
Birth Errors and Erb’s Palsy: A brachial plexus injury is usually preventable, but occurs most often during a complicated delivery, such as a large fetus, breech birth, or extended labor. The baby’s shoulders get stuck behind the pelvic bone, preventing the fetus from moving down the birth canal. When presented with such a situation, it’s possible to maneuver the infant by applying some pressure in a downward direction.
However, there may be a medical error when a physician applies too much pressure, putting excessive force on the baby’s neck and shoulders. There may also be an incident of malpractice if the doctor fails to order a C-section or delays in making the decision.
Four Types of Nerve Damage: Though there may be some variations and overlap, Erb’s Palsy injuries fall into four different categories:
- Neurapraxia: This injury causes trauma to the nerve, but doesn’t lead to long-term damage. Your baby’s injury should heal within 3-4 months.
- Neuroma: A mistake during delivery may damage the nerves, leading scar tissue to develop. It creates pressure on healthy nerves and limits the infant’s range of motion. However, your baby may fully recover with some physical therapy.
- Nerve Tear: This brachial plexus injury usually requires surgery to splice nerve tissue onto the damaged fibers. Scarring can be significant and the recovery period may be longer than other related injuries. Older infants may not experience successful results from nerve graft surgery.
- Avulsion: The most serious nerve injury may occur if the nerve fiber is completely separated from the spinal cord. It cannot be repaired through surgery, so the effects are permanent.
Speak to a Florida Birth Injury Lawyer About Erb’s Palsy and Related Disorders
If your child sustained a brachial plexus injury and developed Erb’s palsy, you may be able to recover compensation for your child’s care and related losses. Please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to learn more about your legal options. We can schedule a no-cost case assessment to evaluate your case and determine the best strategy for enforcing your rights as a parent.