What Causes Erb’s Palsy?

In some ways, babies are surprisingly hardy, but they still must be handled with great care in their first stage of life, especially during the birthing process. Because their bodies are not fully developed, their growing bones, muscles, and nerves are more susceptible to significant damage if harmed. If a baby’s brachial plexus nerves (the bundle of nerves near the neck and shoulder), are hurt during birth or shortly after, it could result in a serious condition called Erb’s Palsy.

How is Erb’s Palsy Caused?

Erb’s Palsy can develop if an infant’s neck or shoulder is strained, pulled, or stretched in a harmful way. In many cases, Erb’s Palsy occurs because the baby’s neck or head is twisted during birth, or because the shoulder or arm is lodged and pulled. While this type of damage can occur naturally, it might also come about because a doctor pulls the baby through the birth canal with too much force, or because he or she used forceps or a vacuum incorrectly. These tools are sometimes used to aid the mother with the delivery process if she is too tired, if the baby is lodged, or if other circumstances make the delivery more difficult.

Determining whether or not brachial plexus damage was caused by a birth injury can be tricky, which is why it is always best to discuss the particulars of your situation with an attorney.

The Repercussions of Erb’s Palsy

Damage to the brachial plexus nerves can impact the mobility of the hand, arm, and shoulder. A baby with Erb’s Palsy might experience any of the following:

  • Paralysis of the arm or hand

  • Lack of mobility in the shoulder, arm, or hand

  • Inability to properly grasp items with the fingers and hand

  • Incomplete range of motion in the arm or shoulder

Parents sometimes do not know that their child suffered a brachial plexus injury until they notice that their child does not have full use of one of their arms. Oftentimes, a child with Erb’s Palsy will be unable to reach upward with their arm, extend the shoulder fully, or use their hand. Luckily, with physical therapy and time, minor cases of Erb’s Palsy can be treated until the nerves heal. That said, more severe cases can result in lasting, if not permanent, nerve damage.

What Should I Do If My Child Developed Erb’s Palsy?

If your child developed Erb’s Palsy due to some act of negligence, you should discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. Our firm understands how delicate and emotional birth injury cases can be, and we also know that no two cases are exactly alike. For that reason, we are committed to providing each client with one-on-one attention throughout each step of their birth injury case. We want to use our experience to help you fight for justice and fair compensation on behalf of your child.

Call (718) 866-3664 today to get in touch with our dedicated Erb’s Palsy attorneys at the Law Office of David Kates.