Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brachial plexus—the network of nerves that connects the fingers, hands and arms to the spine. Approximately one out of every 500 babies is born with Erb’s palsy.

Application of too much force during childbirth
Most cases of Erb’s palsy arise from brachial plexus injuries during childbirth, in which too much force is applied to the baby’s head. When force must be exerted because of a large baby, a breech birth (buttocks first) or a lengthy delivery process, the baby’s neck can be stretched, causing a brachial plexus injury.

The signs of Erb’s palsy can often be observed immediately after birth. Babies who exhibit evidence of a brachial plexus injury will have restricted or absent movement in the affected arm. A more serious type of Erb’s palsy may be indicated by a droopy eyelid on the injured side.

90% recover on their own
Although 90% of babies with an Erb’s palsy injury will recover on their own, in some cases surgery may be required to repair the damage to the brachial plexus. Doctors can also use muscle or a tendon from another part of the body in order to treat the Erb’s palsy.

In some cases, this damage is a result of medical malpractice, leading to birth injury. An experienced birth trauma lawyer can help to determine whether Erb’s palsy injuries resulted from a birth injury caused by the negligence of doctors or their assistants.

Risk factors for Erb’s palsy
Some of the risk factors for brachial plexus injuries caused by birth trauma are:

• Large babies (over 8 lbs., 13 oz.)       • Breech births
• Mothers with small pelvises                • Induced labor
• Prolonged labor

Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Erb’s palsy and birth injuries.

If you child suffers from Erb’s palsy due to a brachial plexus injury during childbirth, contact the attorneys at Hissey Kientz to learn more about your legal rights. Call us toll-free at (866) 275-4454 or fill out a free online case evaluation to learn more about filing a birth injury lawsuit.

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