If you feel there was lack of skill or potential medical errors made during the birth of your child that caused his or her Erb’s Palsy, contact a qualified Iowa medical malpractice attorney to help you evaluate your case for potential compensation for your losses. At McGuire Law, PLC, we offer our services throughout the state of Iowa. We serve areas such as Mason City, Des Moines, Davenport, Sioux City and Cedar Rapids, among many others.
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Erb’s Palsy is a condition that is caused due to damage to the network of nerves that connect the fingers, hands and arms to the spine. This network of nerves is medically known as the brachial plexus. Approximately 1 out of every 500 babies is born with Erb’s palsy. This birth injury can occur during childbirth if too much force is used on the head of the baby in such cases as a breech birth, a large baby or a lengthy delivery process.
This condition will manifest itself immediately after birth, with restricted movement in whichever arm was affected or inability to move it at all. A droopy eyelid on the same injured side can also result. Fortunately, most babies recover from this on their own, but about 10% of children will require surgery to repair the nerves.
Some of the symptoms of Erb’s Palsy include the newborn not being able to move the upper or lower portion of their arm or hand, the arm bent at the elbow and held against the child’s body, and a decreased ability to grip on the affected side. In most cases the symptoms of Erb’s Palsy can be observed immediately following the birth, or shortly there afterward.
Fortunately brachial plexus injuries are less common these days since modern delivery techniques have improved in recent years. In cases where the baby is unusually large, or when the mother’s pelvis is particularly small for a vaginal delivery, a cesarean may be used where there are concerns over a difficult delivery.
While a C-section delivery can definitely reduce the risk of a brachial plexus injury, it cannot eliminate the risk, nor can it prevent it from occurring. The infant’s head and neck can still be pulled and the nerves damaged while the baby is being delivered via cesarean delivery.
Fortunately, the majority of babies will recover from their brachial plexus injury within three to six months after delivery; however, a small percentage of babies will not recover, and those will have a poor outlook. In serious cases there may have been a separation of the nerve root from the spinal cord, and this is referred to as avulsion.
To date, it’s not clear whether or not surgery will help repair the nerves, and in some cases doctors will attempt to use nerve transfers or nerve grafts to improve the problem. Complications can include permanent abnormal muscle contractions, and partial to permanent paralysis of the affected arm.
McGuire Law, PLC has been helping parents obtain compensation for their children’s birth injuries for many years and has a successful track record in negotiating substantial settlements. For assistance with your Erb’s Palsy case, contact our office!