Erb's palsy also know as Erb–Duchenne palsy is a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the arm's main nerves, specifically the severing of the upper trunk C5-C6 nerves. This group forms the brachial plexus, which composes the ventral rami of spinal nerves C5–C8 and thoracic nerveT1. These injuries occur most commonly as a result from shoulder dystocia during a complicated birth. Depending on the nature of the damage, the paralysis can either go away and resolve over a period of months, or it could require rehabilitative therapy, or possibly require surgery.
Erb's Palsy symptoms include loss of sensation in the arm and paralysis and atrophy of the deltoid, biceps, and brachialis muscles. The arm hangs by the side and is rotated medially; the forearm is extended and pronated. The arm cannot be raised from the side; all power of flexion of the elbow is lost, as is also supination of the forearm. The resulting biceps damage is the main cause of this classic physical position commonly called "waiter's tip." If the injury occurs early enough in life to affect development, it often leaves the patient with stunted growth in the affected arm. The stunted growth is evident when compared with the unaffected arm. This also results in the patient having impaired muscular, nervous and circulatory development. The lack of muscular development causes the arm being much weaker than the unaffected one, and less articulate, with many patients unable to lift the arm above shoulder height unaided, as well as leaving many with an elbow contracture. The lack of development to the circulatory system can leave the arm with almost no ability to regulate its temperature, which often proves problematic during winter months when it would need to be closely monitored to ensure that the temperature of the arm was not dropping too far below that of the rest of the body. In addition, the damage to the circulatory system also leaves the arm with a reduced healing ability of the skin, so that skin damage takes far longer than usual to heal, and infections in the arm can be quite common if cuts are not sterilized as soon as possible. This will often cause many problems for children since they often injure themselves in the course of their childhoods.
If such a birth complication occurs as a result of a doctor or medical provider’s failure to take proper steps to correct the problem, a medical malpractice claim may exist and the doctor or medical provider can be held liable for injuries caused to the mother and/or child. Ninety percent of Erbs palsy cases in children are the result of birth injuries. The most common cause of Erbs palsy is shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes impacted on the mother’s pelvis. Such a birth injury can involve serious injury. Many times this birth complication is preventable by monitoring the weight of the unborn child and being prepared for the delivery of a larger baby.
The lawyers at Leav and Steinberg specialize in all types of medical malpractice cases and are well equipped to handle even the most challenging and complicated matters. We are here to help you win your case even against the toughest opponents.
In one particular case we handled, we obtained a $1,000,000.00 settlement in Staten Island for a infant who was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy as a result of a doctor’s malpractice in performing the delivery.