What is Erb’s Palsy and How Does it Happen?
The medical term “palsy” describes any condition involving weakness of the muscles, paralysis, and/or involuntary muscle spasms, and it is an ailment that can affect various parts of the body. One specific condition is Erb’s Palsy, described by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as trauma to the brachial plexus network of nerves in the shoulder and spine. The result is weakness and paralysis in the shoulder, arm, and hand on the affected side. According to NIH, Erb’s Palsy is one of the most common neurological birth injuries in the US.
As a parent, it is devastating to learn that your baby suffers from brachial plexus injuries. However, there are two points to keep in mind to stay positive. First, Erb’s Palsy is treatable, though often through extensive therapy and/or surgery. Second, you do have rights under Florida medical malpractice laws, and a Tampa birth injuries lawyer can assist. You can also read on for an overview about Erb’s Palsy.
Medical Description of Erb’s Palsy: The NIH provides a more extensive definition, stating that the brachial plexus is a network of nerves that connects the shoulder and arm to multiple sections of the spine. The C5 to C8 vertebrae in the cervical spine, as well as the T1 vertebra of the thoracic spine, are part of this nerve network. When there is trauma to the nerves in C5 or C6, Erb’s Palsy is the result. The brachial plexus may suffer harm from tearing and stretching, but severe trauma could lead to severing of the nerve tissue.
How Brachial Plexus Injuries Happen: NIH reports that Erb’s Palsy most often results from pressure on the neck during a difficult childbirth. Delivery may be delayed or strained by the position of the fetus, the size of the infant, and other factors affecting both mother and baby. Health care providers may cause these birth injuries by:
- Using too much pressure to pull the infant through the birth canal;
- Improper use of assisted delivery devices, including forceps and vacuum extractors; and,
- Failing to order a C-section under appropriate circumstances.
Parent Rights with Birth Injury Cases: Through surgery, physical therapy, and other treatment, your baby may enjoy a full recovery from brachial plexus injuries. These are extremely expensive forms of care, so it is understandable that you would want to hold health care providers accountable for your losses. Florida medical negligence laws allow you to recover compensation when a physician breaches the standard of care, such as through the three examples above that cause Erb’s Palsy. In addition to medical costs, you may also recover for pain and suffering.
Discuss Options with Our Florida Birth Injuries Attorneys
If your baby suffers from Erb’s Palsy, it is important to reach out for legal help right away. Our team at Greco & Wozniak P.A. will guide you through the process to ensure you get the compensation your family deserves under Florida law. To set up a free consultation, please contact our offices in Tampa, FL at 813.223.7849 or visit us online.