Erb’s Palsy is a disorder of the brachial plexus that is brought on by birth trauma. The brachial plexus is a bundle of five major nerves that control movement and sensation in the shoulder, arm and hand. In children with Erb’s Palsy, one or more of these nerves are severely damaged during birth, leaving the infant with little to no sensation or muscle control in their arm.
Erb’s Palsy is often extremely frightening for new parents, because babies impacted by this condition are born with arms that hang limply from the shoulder.
Erb’s Palsy often occurs during a difficult delivery and can be the result of medical negligence. If your child was born with Erb’s Palsy or any other type of Birth Injury, Henson Fuerst may be able to help. Contact us today and our experienced Birth Injury attorneys will get to work on your case right away.
Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s Palsy occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are injured during the birthing process. In some cases, Erb’s Palsy can be caused by improper technique on the part of the doctor during delivery.
This scenario is especially common when the infant’s shoulder becomes stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone, a condition known as Shoulder Dystocia. During cases of Shoulder Dystocia, there are a variety of accepted procedures that doctors can use to safely dislodge the baby’s shoulder. If a doctor fails to follow these procedures or makes a mistake during the delivery, the results can be devastating.
There are four main types of injuries to the brachial plexus that can result in Erb’s Palsy:
- Avulsion: the nerve is torn from the spine
- Rupture: the nerve tears, but is not torn away from the spine
- Neuroma: the nerve tries to heal itself, forming scar tissue around the injury and preventing signals from the nerve to the muscle
- Praxis: the nerve does not tear and heals itself
Other factors that can increase a child’s risk of experiencing Erb’s Palsy include:
- Breech, or feet first, delivery
- Infant is larger than average
- Difficult delivery