New Jersey Erb’s Palsy Attorneys
Representing Victims of Brachial Nerve Damage throughout New Jersey
Erb’s palsy is a type of birth injury caused by brachial plexus nerve damage. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves responsible for controlling movement and sensation in the arm, hand, wrist, and fingers. When brachial plexus nerves experience trauma during labor or delivery, the regions they control can suffer a loss of function. In the case of Erb’s Palsy, an injury to the nerves near the baby’s neck can lead to loss of control in the shoulder and upper arm. Unfortunately, Erb’s Palsy-related injuries are often the result of medical negligence during the birthing process.
When an obstetrician’s mistakes lead to brachial plexus injuries and resulting Erb’s Palsy, it is important for parents and caregivers to know the legal avenues they have available. With an experienced birth injury attorney on your side, you can obtain the compensation necessary to pay for your child’s medical care, physical therapy, and expenses now and in the future. To speak with a New Jersey birth injury lawyer about your child’s arm injury during birth, contact us now at 866-708-8617 or online. We provide free and entirely confidential consultations.
Erb’s Palsy: The Basics
Erb’s Palsy is the leading type of brachial plexus injury, occurring in approximately two out of every 1,000 newborns. This condition bears the name of Wilhelm Erb, who first discussed it. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that originates in the neck and extends the entire length of the arm into the fingers. When the brachial plexus nerves are damaged, the resulting palsy can be temporary or permanent. Erb’s Palsy is typically caused by an injury in the upper portion of the brachial plexus, in the vicinity of the baby’s neck. This area of the brachial plexus is located where the fifth and sixth cranial nerves come together.
Since the brachial plexus is responsible for movement and sensation in the arm, hand, and fingers, an injury to this essential neural network can impair function in the associated region. Erb’s Palsy specifically refers to a palsy that affects the shoulder or upper arm. When the lower part of the brachial plexus is injured and the hand and forearm are affected, this is a different brachial plexus condition known as Klumpke’s Palsy.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
If your child is suffering from Erb’s Palsy, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Weakness in one arm
- Favoring one arm
- Lack of movement in one arm
- One arm appears limp
- Holding one arm against the side of the body
- Lack of sensation or numbness in the upper arm
- Total or partial paralysis in one arm
- Muscle atrophy in the affected arm
How Does Erb’s Palsy Happen?
One of the most common causes of Erb’s Palsy is mismanagement of shoulder dystocia during delivery. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby becomes wedged behind the mother’s pubic bone. If shoulder dystocia occurs during labor, your physician must recognize the situation and correctly use one of the appropriate maneuvers to avoid causing an injury to you or your child. Failure to do so can cause brachial plexus injuries and other forms of birth trauma.
Another potential cause of damage to the brachial plexus nerves occurs when the baby is pulled from the birth canal at an unusual angle. This may happen if one of the child’s arms is over his or her head, or if the head is facing one direction and the arm is pulled in the other direction. In other cases where the baby’s size and shape does not fit through the birth canal (cephalopelvic disproportion), using excessive force to pull the baby through the birth canal can lead to brachial plexus injury.
Additionally, if a doctor fails to perform a cesarean section, especially in cases involving abnormal birth presentations such as breech delivery, the baby’s arm or shoulder can be overstretched as they are pulled from the birth canal. Inappropriate use of forceps or vacuum extractors may also be responsible for brachial plexus nerve damage.
Can Erb’s Palsy by Fixed?
The prognosis for Erb’s Palsy is determined by the severity of the specific brachial plexus injury. In more minor cases, Erb’s Palsy will correct with the help of physical therapy. The sooner the baby begins treatment for Erb’s Palsy, the more likely they are to regain the majority of function. In approximately 70 to 80 percent of Erb’s Palsy cases, the child will heal within twelve months. However, in a fewer number of cases, children with Erb’s Palsy will experience significant and permanent complications. These may include loss of control, limited mobility, lack of sensation, and uncontrollable muscle reflexes in the affected arm.
Contact Our Newark, New Jersey Erb’s Palsy Lawyers
If your child suffers from Erb’s Palsy or another birth injury, you deserve to know what happened and if someone’s medical negligence was responsible causing this devastating condition. You may intimidated by the idea of a lawsuit, but you can leave the legal battle to our aggressive NJ birth injury attorneys. Our neonatal malpractice team works with leading medical experts and investigators to develop the most compelling case for compensation. We take up your cause and work tirelessly to obtain damages for medical costs, rehabilitative treatment, lifelong care, and pain and suffering. Let us review your child’s Erb’s Palsy case at no cost to you. Schedule a free consultation by calling (866)-708-8617 or contact us online today.
With offices in Newark, New Jersey and Manhattan, New York, we represent birth injury victims throughout the tristate area. If your case occurred in Hackensack, Jersey City, Morristown, New Brunswick, Livingston, Toms River, or elsewhere in New Jersey, our lawyers regularly fight for people just like you.