Erb’s palsy may also be referred to as a brachial plexus injury. It is a type of birth injury that can occur as a result of medical malpractice in Washington, D.C. Erb’s palsy involves damage to a child’s nerves, which results in symptoms that may be either temporary or permanent. Caring for a child with a temporary or lifelong disability can take a significant toll on a family’s resources. If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, consider talking to a medical malpractice attorney about legal recourse.
How Injuries Can Occur
The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in the shoulder area. The nerves extend along the arms, providing for sensation and control of movement in these areas. Brachial plexus injuries can develop when a newborn suffers trauma during delivery. For example, if the infant is particularly large, there is a breech presentation, or the labor is especially long or difficult the newborn is at a higher risk of Erb’s palsy. During difficult deliveries, the infant’s neck may be stretched to one side, which can also stretch and injure the brachial plexus nerves.
Which Symptoms May Develop
The symptoms of Erb’s palsy may range from mild to severe and from temporary to permanent. If the nerves have only been lightly stretched, the injury may heal by itself within a few months. In more severe cases, the nerve may be torn or completely separated from the spinal cord. These injuries cannot repair themselves. If your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, you may have noticed that he or she favors one arm. Muscle weakness, loss of sensation, and partial or total paralysis of that arm can occur.
What Treatments May be Necessary
Malpractice compensation can help parents arrange the medical interventions their children need. When the child is about three weeks old, he or she can begin physical therapy. A physical therapist can show you how to manipulate your child’s arm to maintain its range of motion. If your child does not show signs of improvement within three to six months, the doctor may recommend surgical treatment. Surgery may involve a nerve graft or nerve transfer. However, even with surgical treatment, some children never fully recover.
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