One in every 1,000 babies is born with Erb’s palsy, a condition that affects arm movement, strength and sensation. Although some children overcome the condition through physical therapy, passive range of motion exercises and surgery, many children endure a lifetime of challenges.
Searcy Denney holds the negligent doctors and hospital responsible for the birth injuries your baby suffered. Drawing on 40 years of experience, our medical malpractice law firm helps you obtain the compensation you need to pay for medical treatments and tools that can improve your child’s functionality, strength and sensation. We consider the challenges your baby will face through childhood and adulthood and seek damages that can improve his or her quality of life over the long term.
Anatomy of a Brachial Plexus Injury
The brachial plexus is the complex group of nerves that come together at the neck and shoulder and control movement and feeling in the arms, hands and fingers. Injury to the brachial plexus typically occurs during delivery and may include:
- Neurapraxia. The doctor overstretches the brachial plexus nerves during delivery. The mildest of the types of brachial plexus injuries, this condition may heal within three months with medical therapy.
- Neuroma. Scar tissue may form on the overstretched brachial plexus nerve fibers and press on healthy nerves. With treatment, the baby may partially recover, but may still have a partial disability.
- Rupture. An overstretched nerve that is torn will not heal without substantial medical care that may include surgery. Even with treatment or surgery, the child may suffer a permanent disability.
- Avulsion. Treatment cannot fully repair an avulsion in which the nerve is ripped from the spinal cord. In some cases, doctors might be able to splice a donor nerve graft removed from another child’s muscle. However, even after this major surgery, the child may only regain some function and feeling in the affected arm, but rarely all.
Doctor’s Delivery Mistakes Can Cause Erb’s Palsy
Brachial plexus injuries generally occur during birth when the obstetrician:
- Allows the baby’s head and neck to twist to the side in the birth canal
- Stretches or tugs on the newborn’s shoulder as the baby passes through the birth canal head first
- Places pressure on the infant’s raised arm in a feet-first breech delivery
Disabilities Associated with Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy can result in health issues and disabilities that may be temporary or permanent, including:
- Paralysis in the child’s upper arm, forearm or hand
- Weakness in the affected arm
- Loss of sensation and numbness in the arm
- No moro reflex, which is the involuntary response system
- Inability to fully grip with the hand and fingers
- Permanently flexed position of the arm
Learn How Searcy Denney Can Help Your Child Recover for Birth Injuries
Recover damages if an obstetric error injured your healthy newborn. Contact Searcy Denney to discuss your medical malpractice claim with our experienced attorneys. Your first consultation is free and our Florida Erb’s Palsy attorneys take your claim on contingency.