Erb’s Palsy is a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder. This injury occurs when the nerves in a baby’s upper arm are damaged. It typically affects one or two of every 1,000 babies. A lesion at Erb’s point causes Erb’s Palsy. This point is the area near the baby’s neck. It is where the fifth and sixth cranial nerves merge to create the upper point of the brachial plexus.
The nerves in the brachial plexus give movement and feeling to the baby’s arm, hand, and fingers. Shoulder dystocia during birth causes Erb’s palsy. Usually, infants cannot move that shoulder or upper arm. Sometimes, Erb’s palsy affects the whole trunk and an arm is paralyzed.
Risk Factors Involved with Erb’s Palsy
There are a few risk factors that can lead to this condition. These risks include:
- Small maternal size
- Large infant size
- Excessive weight gain by the mother
- Improper use of birthing tools
- The second stage of labor going on for more than an hour
- Infants coming out in the breech position
Erb’s Palsy Causes
Erb’s Palsy generally occurs during a difficult labor, and can happen in three different ways. One way is the baby passing through the birth canal at an awkward angle. A medical professional turns the head in one direction while pulling the arm in the opposite direction.
Excessive pulling on the shoulders can cause this condition as well. Another situation is a breech birth through the birth canal. In a breech birth, the baby’s arms are pulled backward over the head as the delivering physician pulls the newborn from the birth canal by the legs. During these situations, the baby is violently stretched. In some cases, shoulder dislocation also occurs. However, forceful stretching always causes nerve damage to the brachial plexus.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
When a baby shows weakness in an arm or cannot movie it, it could be Erb’s Palsy. Severity can be just weakness or total paralysis. The common signs and symptoms to look out for include:
- The affected arm may be limp, held against the side of the body, and bent at the elbow
- A decreased ability to grip with the hand on the affected side
- Partial or full paralysis
- Loss of sensory function in the upper arm of the affected area
- Loss of motor function in the upper arm in the affected area
- Arm numbness
- Impaired circulatory, muscular, and nervous development
Costs Associated with Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often lifelong complications that require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. Depending upon the severity of the injuries, the financial costs associated with birth injuries can range from several thousands to over a million during the lifespan of a child with birth injuries.
For instance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy (CP) is around $1 million. The costs associated with a child who suffers hearing loss after a birth injury typically ranges around $400,00.
It is important to remember that if your child’s birth injuries are a result of medical negligence and carelessness, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages. A complex litigation attorney can help. At The Michael Brady Lynch Firm, our lawyers have decades of experience helping injured people get justice and full compensation for injuries caused negligence. The Michel Brady Lynch Firm regularly takes on the largest corporations in the world with a track records of proven success and results. Contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm today, and our attorneys will review your case for free and help you protect your rights. For your complimentary consultation, call our office now.