Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, is a paralysis of the arm caused when the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder are strained or damaged by trauma during birth. Typically, it is caused by shoulder dystocia, which means that the baby’s shoulder becomes lodged on the mother’s pelvic bone during the delivery. In many cases, the nerves heal themselves and the paralysis is resolved within a few months of birth.
There are two main situations in which parents of children born with Erb’s palsy may have a legal claim for damages against a doctor, midwife, hospital or other medical practitioner. These situations include:
- When the caregiver has failed to arrange a cesarean section in a case where he or she should have anticipated that shoulder dystocia would occur, or was likely to occur, and
- When the caregiver fails to respond properly to the occurrence of shoulder dystocia during the delivery. Improper force placed on the baby’s head during the delivery, or the use of forceps, can cause injury to the brachial plexus nerves.
If your child was born with Erb’s palsy, you may wish to consult an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer to determine whether you and your child are entitled to financial compensation. It is likely that you did not anticipate the costs involved with treating your child’s condition and the additional financial burden may be causing stress for your entire family.
Your Erb’s palsy lawyer can ensure that you can afford the treatments recommended by your doctor. Treatments may include frequent physiotherapy appointments. Physiotherapy during the first few months will help to keep your baby’s muscles and joints in good condition until the nerves heal. Botox injections may also help relieve stiff joints.
In some cases, the paralysis does not resolve itself and the child is left with permanent weakness or paralysis in the arm. In these cases, your child may have ongoing physiotherapy requirements. Your child may also require occupational therapy to learn adaptive skills and may require the use of technologies to help him excel in school and the workplace.
In some situations, a parent may be forced to take time off of work, or to find childcare for other children, in order to take a baby or child with Erb’s palsy to doctor’s appointments or physiotherapy.
Whatever your family’s needs, your Erb’s palsy lawyer can help ensure that you have the financial means to take care of them.