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Can A Mistake By The Doctor Cause An Infant To Have Erb’s Palsy?

Injuries to children are among the most emotionally difficult cases for New Orleans personal injury attorneys. No doctor sets out with the goal of injuring a patient’s baby, but they do occasionally make mistakes that lead to a birth injury. Erb’s Palsy is among the more common birth injuries that can arise from a mistake in the birthing process.

Erb’s Palsy is an injury to the nerves that control and supply the muscles of the shoulder and upper extremities (the upper brachial plexus). It can result from the baby becoming stuck in the mother’s birth canal during birth. When a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck at the mother’s pelvic bone during childbirth (shoulder dystocia), there are several methods that a physician may use to dislodge the infant. These include applying traction to the head in an attempt to dislodge the shoulder. Applying too much traction while the shoulder remains stuck, however, can result in damage to the nerves in the neck that provide motor control to the shoulder and arm.

While the degree of this injury can vary greatly, it usually leads to some degree of muscle paralysis in the affected limb. Some infants may have no muscle control or feeling in the entire arm. Others may be able to control the upper arm but have little control below the wrist, or even be able to use the hand but have no control over the upper arm.

Serious cases of Erb’s Palsy may require surgical intervention. Even in less serious cases, children with this condition often require physical therapy to help them increase their range of movement and attempt to develop at least partial use of the affected arm. Nerves heal slowly, and it can take years before the infant recovers from the trauma. In many cases, the limb will always remain weak and have reduced range of motion.

If your child has suffered a birth injury, like erbs palsy, speak to an attorney. We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding your rights. Please call us at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.