Medical Malpractice Birth Injuries: Erb's Palsy

A birth related injury unfortunately seen suffered at an alarming rate due to medical negligence is Erb’s palsy.  Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves.  The brachial plexus is a network of nerves which begin in the area of the neck and stretch throughout the arm.  In cases of Erb’s palsy, the upper brachial plexus nerves are damaged.  This is most commonly caused at birth during the delivery of a child.

This type of birth injury is often caused when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck during delivery, which is referred to as shoulder dystocia.  In some situations, the babies head is able to be delivered, however in others, the shoulder becomes stuck and the rest of the baby becomes stuck in the birth canal.  This sometimes occurs when the baby is too large to be delivered vaginally.  When this does occur, the baby must be delivered quickly.  However, physicians must take steps and precautions not to apply excess force to the baby’s neck during delivery.  If excess force is applied while the shoulder is stuck, the nerves which connect the child’s shoulder, arm, and hand can be damaged.

Depending on the level of damage done to the nerves, a child may be facing a permanent injury which could cause a debilitating disability for life.  This can include a limited use of the arm, a paralyzed arm, lack of muscle control, decreased sensation or lack of growth of the arm and complete inability to move the arm at the elbow.

If you believe child has possibly suffered a brachial plexus/Erb’s palsy injury at birth due to medical negligence, you must not delay in consulting with medical malpractice attorneys who are experienced in such matters.  The attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC have years of experience handling cases involving medical malpractice, birth injuries, and specifically Erb’s palsy injuries.