Facts about Erb’s Palsy

Jul 31

About 3 in every 1,000 babies suffer from some type of injury at birth which is understandable because it is a traumatic experience for both mother and child. However, there are some injuries that could have been prevented with a better trained or more conscientious physician. Some cases of Erb’s palsy qualify under this category, as an Oklahoma mother campaigning to raise awareness of the condition is well-qualified to testify, even without consultation with Oklahoma personal injury lawyers.

Erb’s palsy is a subset of a group of birth injuries called Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy (BPBP) which primarily affects the nerves of the brachial plexus that controls arm and hand movement. It is differentiated from Klumpke’s palsy by the location of the injury. Erb’s palsy occurs in the upper trunk between cervical roots (C) 5 and 6 while Klumpke’s palsy is in the lower trunk between C8 and the first thoracic nerves. Erb’s palsy is much more common than Klumpke’s palsy but not necessarily less serious. It all depends on how severe the injury is.

The manifestation of Erb’s palsy in a newborn can be quite worrying, but in fact the prognosis for Erb’s palsy is quite good, unlike one case where the baby died due to a botched forceps delivery in Texas and the parents may very well need Houston personal injury lawyers to help them sue the doctor. More than 50% of all Erb’s palsy cases resolve itself within the first six weeks after birth with no intervention at all, while most of the rest markedly improve with physical therapy, nerve surgery, or a combination of both. Only a small portion of those with Erb’s palsy end up with the affected arm permanently disabled.

However, this does not mean that the cause of the injury should not be investigated and when appropriate liability assigned. It is true that in a majority of cases BPBP can result when there is prolonged labor, high birth weight, breech birth, or shoulder dystocia absent any medical negligence. But as Erb’s palsy lawyers maintain and the evidence supports, in some cases causation can be traced directly to errors made by the physician due to recklessness, inexperience, or other factors. Even if the child makes a full recovery, the physician still failed in their duty of care to the patient and should be brought to book.

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