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Causes of Erb’s Palsy

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), injuries that cause Erb’s Palsy are frequently the result of trauma sustained during birth, possibly from medical malpractice.  The following are causes of Erb’s Palsy commonly from a medical professional’s mistake.

Excessive Force. If the doctor or medical staff uses excessive force to extract a child from the birth canal when the baby’s shoulder is stuck on the mother’s pubic bone, the baby can develop Shoulder Dystocia.  Shoulder Dystocia can cause Erb’s Palsy.

Improper Use of Forceps or Vacuum. When a baby’s shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone, the doctor will use forceps or a vacuum to dislodge the shoulder.  Forceps are used to grip a baby’s head and guide it out of the birth canal, and a vacuum is a suction cup that’s placed over the baby’s head which allows the physician to pull out the child with more ease.  If either is used excessively, they can cause Shoulder Dystocia from nerve damage which can eventually lead to Erb’s Palsy.

Types of Erb’s Palsy

There are four types of Erb’s Palsy.

Avulsion is the most severe degree of Erb’s Palsy and is associated with the nerve being completely torn from the spine.

Neuropraxia is the most common type of Erb’s Palsy and occurs when trauma results from stretching or damaging the nerve in the shoulder without it being torn.

Rupture is when the tendon is torn from a location but not from the spine.

Neuroma is when the brachial plexus nerve tries to repair itself and, as a result, the scar tissue surrounding the injury prevents the nerve from functioning properly.

Erb’s Palsy Treatment

Treatment of Erb’s Palsy depends on the type and severity of the injury.  The majority of Erb’s Palsy (or brachial plexus) injuries will resolve spontaneously within several months to a year.  The infant can either be treated nonsurgically for mild cases or surgically for more severe cases.  Nonsurgical treatment requires the child to do daily physical therapy and exercises to maintain the range of motion in the affected limb.  If by the time the baby is 3-6 months old some strength has not returned to the affected muscles, the child may endure surgery on the nerves or tendon transfers to help repair the nerve damage.

Contact York Law Firm

The cost of treatment can be considerable.  Medical costs coupled with rehabilitation and therapy costs can eat up a substantial amount of your finances.  That is why you need the exceptional legal services provided by York Law Firm.  We have the experience and the resources to help you obtain recovery.

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