Birth Injury
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Erb’s Palsy Attorneys

When a baby suffers serious injuries at birth, the results can be devastating and parents are often confused about the cause. Some injuries are unpreventable, even with the best medical treatment. Others, however, occur when medical providers fail to follow accepted standards of care – often missing key warning signs and symptoms. Erb’s Palsy is a birth injury that typically happens as a result of a difficult delivery – and can often be attributed to negligence.

Causes of Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s Palsy is a type of injury also known as a brachial plexus injury, and is one of the most common types of injuries caused by a difficult delivery. The brachial plexus is an arrangement of nerve fibers running from the spine through the neck, armpit, and arm. It controls movement of the hands, arms and shoulders. Erb’s Palsy refers specifically to injuries that involve the upper brachial plexus, or the muscles of the shoulder and elbow.

Erb’s Palsy is most often caused when the baby’s head has been delivered, but the shoulders cannot exit the birth canal (also known as shoulder dystocia). In most births, the delivery of the head is the most difficult step – and the shoulders and rest of the body are easy to follow. However, in some cases, the baby’s shoulders are much wider or larger than normal, and become stuck under the mother’s pubic bone.

While some cases of shoulder dystocia are unpreventable, doctors are trained to look for certain risk factors that may lead to shoulder dystocia and Erb’s Palsy. When doctors fail to anticipate known risk factors, they may be acting negligently and medical malpractice is at fault. Some of the more common examples of medical malpractice causing shoulder dystocia and Erb’s Palsy include the following:

  • Doctor failed to obtain a thorough history of the mother, including any previous history of diabetes, large babies, or difficult deliveries;
  • Doctor failed to check for gestational diabetes during pregnancy;
  • Doctor did not warn mother of excessive weight gain during pregnancy;
  • Doctor did not evaluate fetal size by ultrasound during the third trimester;
  • Doctor did not address late delivery date;
  • Doctor did not request qualified medical staff to help manage delivery;
  • Doctor did not properly inform mother about need for caesarean section when appropriate;
  • Doctor did not manage shoulder dystocia appropriately, including improper use of forceps or vacuum extractor or excessive force on the baby’s head or neck during delivery.

Treatment options for Erb’s Palsy depend on the severity of the injury – as well as how early the injury is diagnosed. Any difficult delivery situation warrants an immediate evaluation of the baby to check for signs of injury to the shoulder or elbow. Additional tests may be necessary to review the extent of the nerve damage. Treatment can include physical or occupational therapy – or in some cases, surgery.

While not all instances of Erb’s Palsy can be avoided, many injuries can be prevented if medical providers carefully monitor the pregnancy and both mother and baby during labor and delivery. When a baby suffers from Erb’s Palsy because the doctor failed to notice known risk factors, medical negligence – and malpractice – are to blame.

Help With Your Erb’s Palsy Legal Claim

If your baby suffers from Erb’s Palsy caused by medical malpractice, you may be eligible to file a claim for damages. Compensation can help pay for your child’s medical care and therapeutic treatment. A medical malpractice attorney with experience in Erb’s Palsy claims can evaluate your situation, working with accredited medical experts to evaluate whether all healthcare standards were met. Michigan Injury Lawyers represents victims and families impacted by serious birth injuries, including Erb’s Palsy. Our injury attorneys have helped many victims in Michigan recover what was rightfully theirs. We can help you and your family too.

Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-438-4357, or contact us online for an evaluation of your claim.  If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services.