Erb's Palsy: A Common Birth Injury That Can Cause Permanent Damage
Among the many conditions children can develop as the result of a birth injury is a nerve-related injury called Erb's Palsy. One or two of every 1,000 babies are diagnosed with Erb's Palsy, which is generally caused by a child's neck being stretched during delivery.
What is Erb's Palsy?
Erb's Palsy is also known as Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy because it involves the brachial plexus, a collection of nerves near the neck that allow the arm, hand and fingers to move and have feeling. When those nerves are damaged during delivery, this is called Erb's Palsy and the child will usually have loss of motion and weakness in that arm. Some children just lose movement in the shoulder, but can still move their fingers.
What Causes Erb's Palsy?
If a woman is going through an especially difficult labor, brachial plexus stretch injuries are highly possible. The labor could be difficult for any number of reasons — the labor is taking a long time, the baby is quite large or it is breeched. If complications arise and the baby needs to be delivered immediately, the neck will sometimes get stretched as it moves through the birth canal and the doctor pulls it out.
Is Erb's Palsy Treatable?
Yes. Most babies will heal on their own, but it's important to have many follow up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor will probably recommend a physical therapist that can help and that physical therapist will probably give you exercises to work on at home with your child. There are some cases where children do not fully heal and in these situations, you will need to speak with a medical professional about surgical options.
Erb's Palsy is fairly common, but there are some cases where it could have been avoided. If your child suffered a birth injury and you feel that it was because of a doctor's negligence, contact the Texas birth injury attorneys at Girards Law for a free consultation at 888.897.2762