There is a network of nerve fibers near your baby’s neck and shoulder known as the brachial plexus. These fibers are connected to the spine by five nerve roots. The nerves control muscle movement and sensory function in both the arm and the hand. About 2 in every 1,000 babies experiences an injury to this network of nerves due to delivery room error. The condition, known as Erb’s palsy, causes children to lose feeling, or experience weakness in an arm, hand or finger. In severe cases, partial or complete paralysis may occur.At The Law Office of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., in Scottsdale, our lawyer works hard to help hold negligent medical professionals accountable and to help you recover the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
Erb’s Palsy Symptoms
Infants and children with Erb’s Palsy may display the following symptoms:
- The baby’s arm is rotated toward his body
- He has the inability to raise the affected arm overhead
- He experiences limpness or loss of movement or sensory ability in the arm
- He has partial or total arm paralysis
How Brachial Plexus Injuries Occur During Delivery
Injury to the brachial plexus network of nerves commonly occurs during complicated births, when the baby’s head is delivered, but his shoulder becomes lodged behind his mother’s pubic or sacral bone. When a child’s shoulder is impacted against his mother’s pelvic region, the condition is known as shoulder dystocia.
In an effort to deliver the child, an obstetrician may employ rotation maneuvers or other forms of manual or mechanical manipulation. A compression force or traction force can cause the baby’s neck to be violently stretched to the side, and may result in one of four types of injuries to the brachial plexus nerves, such as:
Neurapraxia — mildest form of stretch injury, in which the nerve is bruised but remains intact and conduction of nerve signals is interrupted. The baby will experience mild weakness or temporary paralysis. The palsy generally heals on its own within three months and movement is restored.
Neuroma — repetitive stretching or irritation to the nerve fibers can cause scar tissue or thickened nerve tissue. The scar tissue disrupts signals from the nerves to the muscles. Some recovery is possible, but may not be total.
Rupture — When a stretch injury causes a nerve to be torn or ruptured, it often requires surgery to repair the damage. A neurosurgeon may be able to “splice” a healthy donor nerve graft from another nerve in the baby’s body.
Avulsion — When the nerve root is yanked away from the spinal cord, it is known as an avulsion. This is a serious nerve injury which can sometimes, but not always, be repaired by a sophisticated microsurgery technique known as a “nerve transfer.”
Recovery From Erb’s Palsy
Many infants have the ability to recover from Erb’s Palsy in 3 to 12 months. Unfortunately 10% of infants with this type of palsy, will suffer permanent injury.
The Law Offices of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., has helped many parents of children who have suffered brachial plexus birth injuries, including those who have suffered partial or total paralysis of the arm.
Contact Our Arizona Law Firm If Your Child Has Suffered A Birth Injury
Our attorney is interested in hearing your story and helping you resolve your baby’s shoulder dystocia or Erb’s Palsy negligence claim. Call our law firm at 480-951-3949 or contact us online without delay to preserve the statutory deadline to file a claim in Arizona. We provide representation for families located throughout the greater Phoenix area.