Erbs Palsy

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Erbs palsy is a medical condition involving trauma to the brachial plexus group of nerve fibers extending bilaterally from the spinal cord to the shoulder area and through the upper extremities.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Loss of muscle control
  • Limpness and low muscle tone in the arm muscles
  • Decreased sensation
  • Partial or complete paralysis

If your child or a loved one exhibits any one of these symptoms it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to explore your legal rights.

Birth Complications and Erbs Palsy

Ninety percent of Erbs palsy cases in children are the result of birth injuries. Shoulder dystocia is the most common birth complication that causes Erbs palsy. Shoulder dystocia is defined as a difficult childbirth during which the baby's shoulder becomes impacted on the mother's pelvis. While Erbs Palsy is a rare birth injury, affecting two newborns for every 1,000 births, it can involve significant injury and trauma.

When shoulder dystocia or other birth complications occur, a physician and other medical professionals have a duty to take the appropriate measures to correct the problem and avoid injury to the mother and child. When shoulder dystocia occurs, there are a number of medical techniques, such as the HELPERR protocol, that can be employed to avoid causing injury. When a medical professional fails to take these essential steps and a child develops Erbs Palsy, the physician can be held liable for the birth injury.

Did the Doctor Do Everything He Could?

  • McRobert's maneuver
  • Suprapubic pressure (or Rubin I)
  • Rubin II
  • Posterior pressure on the anterior shoulder
  • Woods' screw maneuver
  • Jacquemier's maneuver (also called Barnum's maneuver)
  • Zavanelli's maneuver
  • Internal cephalic replacement followed by Cesarean section
  • Symphisiotomy

The Four Types of Erbs Palsy

• Neurapraxia (Stretch Injury) - involves the nerve stretching without any tearing of the fibers and has the greatest chance of healing without medical intervention.

• Rupture - A nerve tear in the brachial plexus, but not at the spinal cord. If the tear occurs at another point other than where the nerves attach to the spinal cord, the injury has a good chance of healing without intervention.

• Neuroma - The result of scar tissue build up at the torn nerve site.

• Avulsion - The most severe case of Erbs palsy, avulsion is the total tearing of the nerves away from the spinal cord.

Surgical Procedures and Effectiveness

Approximately 80 percent of all children with Erbs Palsy will recover without medical intervention. However, when Erbs palsy requires medical intervention, there are surgical procedures available to correct the child's nerve damage. These surgical procedures can restore feeling and function to the affected extremities. Erbs palsy surgery is most effective when performed on a child between four and twelve months of age. Erbs palsy surgery tends to be less effective after the child's first year of life. Studies have found that surgery can restore function to the affected arms 80 to 90 percent of the time.

Contact an Attorney Near You

If your child has suffered Erbs Palsy during the birth process, medical negligence may have contributed to your child's suffering. If you would like to learn more about Erbs palsy, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney in your area.

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