Erb’s Palsy involves the paralysis or weakness of the arms, hands, or shoulders, caused by injury to the nerves of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerve fibers that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Although Erb’s Palsy can occur as an adult, the condition is predominantly a birth injury occurring in newborn babies. The brachial nerves of the newborn may be stretched or torn as a result of the doctor applying too much pressure to the head, neck, or shoulders during delivery. In general, excessive pulling on the shoulders during a headfirst delivery or pressure on the arms during a feet first delivery may cause nerve damage and lead to Erb’s Palsy. The application of too much force can stretch the brachial nerves causing rupture or tears.
If your child suffers from Erb’s Palsy, you should consider the possibility that your doctor or medical care professional may not have done all that is possible to prevent Erb’s Palsy during childbirth. The experienced birth injury attorneys of Oshman & Mirisola, LLP are always available to speak with you, and if you are unable to come to our offices for an initial case sign-up, we will send someone to you whether at home or in the hospital.
Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy are usually very obvious, even at the first encounter, and normally noticed soon after birth. These symptoms include limpness in the arm, lack of a Moro reflex, no spontaneous movement, decreased grip, and loss of sensation in the hands and fingers.
The injuries that are associated to Erb’s Palsy are the neck, clavicle, shoulder, and arm. Some precautions or problems that should be evaluated for signs of brachial plexus injuries are shoulder or elbow dislocation, a frozen shoulder, soft tissue or joint contractures
Lifting a child with Erb’s Palsy from under the armpits should always be avoided, because it may cause further injury or aggravate the condition.
Examples of different symptoms of Erbs Palsy can include:
- No muscle control and no feeling in the arm or hand.
- The ability to move but with little control.
- The use of hands but not of the shoulder or elbow.
- The entire arm may be paralyzed with the hand and fingers hanging limp.
- Facial paralysis on the affected side.
- Not able to sit up without assistance.
- The inability to crawl without the use of therapeutic devices.
A high proportion of babies (about 80 percent) recover in the first three months. However, there are 20 percent who are left with some residual paralysis. It is believed that recovery can be gauged by the contractions of biceps and deltoid muscles, which are as follows:
- Complete: Start at one month and are normal by two months.
- Good: Start by three months and are complete by five months.
- Average: Start after three months.
Erb’s Palsy is difficult to diagnose. However, certain factors can suggest a higher risk. If you feel your child suffers from a brachial plexus injury such as Erb’s Palsy due to the negligence of your doctor or medical professional, please contact the attorneys of Oshman & Mirisola, LLP. You deserver to be compensated for your child’s physical and emotional damages. Contact us today at 1-800-400-8182, or contact us online for a free case evaluation.