Los Angeles Birth Injuries and the RIsk of Erb's Palsy

December 31, 1969

According to Ortho Info, Erb's Palsy occurs in approximately one or two of every 1,000 babies. However, this condition is not just a naturally-occurring birth injury. Erb's palsy normally happens when something goes wrong during labor and delivery. 1379359_max.jpg

Our Los Angeles birth injury attorneys know that there are many potential complications that can develop as a child is coming into the world. It is very important for doctors and medical care professionals to take the right steps to avoid putting the baby at risk of developing a serious health condition.

Erb's Palsy Causes and Effects

Erb's Palsy is a type of brachial plexus palsy. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that are located near your neck. These nerves communicate with the brain and make it possible for the arm to move. The nerves also transmit feeling to the arm, as well as to the hands and the fingers.

If this bundle of nerves is damaged or injured during the birthing process, then the baby may experience limited mobility and limited feeling. As an article in Paediatrics & Child Health indicated, Erb's palsy can be very frightening for parents initially because the "infant's arm hangs limply from the shoulder."

Fortunately, recovery is possible in many cases. In as many as 80 to 96 percent of Erb's palsy cases, children will recover completely and will regain full use and feeling within the affected arm. If the baby starts to improve within the first two weeks after birth, then the child is especially likely to recover.

When complete recovery is not possible, however, then the child may experience ongoing limits on mobility and function. This can be especially devastating as the baby is then afflicted with a lifelong medical condition that occurred during birth, usually as a result of something that went wrong or something that the doctor did in error during delivery.

Can Erb's Palsy Be Avoided?
While not all cases of Erb's palsy can be avoided, many can if doctors exercise reasonable care and are competent during the labor and delivery process.

Erb's Palsy typically happens if a baby's neck is stretched to the side during delivery, which can happen if the baby's shoulder becomes stuck in the mother's body while being delivered. When this happens, the doctor needs to act quickly by taking steps such as pressing the mother's thighs into her stomach; putting pressure on the mother's stomach; moving the mother to all fours; turning the baby inside the mother or doing an episiotomy. Emergency cesarean section is also possible in some cases, although a planned Cesarean is rarely a method of avoiding Erb's palsy since Erb's Palsy is a hard condition to predict.

Erb's palsy can also result if labor is too prolonged or if the doctor is too aggressive in using force to pull the baby from the birth control. Again, a doctor could potentially help to avoid Erb's palsy here by ordering an emergency cesarean section or being cautious about pressure and force during delivery.

Determining if the Erb's palsy could be avoided is very important since a doctor who causes a child to develop this condition can be liable for medical malpractice is a reasonable doctor would have acted differently and avoided the Erb's palsy.

Contact Howard Law, PC today, if your baby suffered a birth injury. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.

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