Complications during the birth and delivery process can result in injuries with lifelong effects. Although these complications and the resulting injuries can arise spontaneously, sometimes they are due to doctor’s errors. If your child is suffering from Erb’s palsy because of the carelessness of your doctor or healthcare provider, they may be entitled to financial compensation. The Philadelphia Erb’s palsy lawyers at Youman & Caputo can help you understand your child’s rights and pursue compensation for their injuries.
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What is Erb’s Palsy?
Types of Erb’s Palsy
Common Causes of Erb’s Palsy
Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy
Did Erb’s Palsy Occur Due to Medical Negligence?
Erb’s Palsy Treatment
How an Attorney Can Help
Proving Negligence in a Lawsuit
What to Do if Your Baby Suffered Erb’s Palsy
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If you’re looking for representation for your child’s Erb’s palsy case, call Youman & Caputo today at (215) 302-1999. Your initial consultation is at no cost to you.
Erb’s palsy is a form of brachial plexus palsy. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the shoulder that carry signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand. Erb’s palsy is a nerve condition that affects the shoulders and arms and results in weakness or loss of movement in the affected arm. It occurs as a result of injury to the nerves that can take place during a prolonged labor or difficult delivery.
If the nerves of the brachial plexus in an infant get pulled or stretched, they can suffer serious damage. This nerve damage can lead to one or more conditions that affect the brachial plexus, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. Klumpke’s palsy describes paralysis of the arm and loss of sensation due to an injury of the brachial plexus.
There are multiple types of Erb’s palsy based on the mechanics of the injury:
The most common type of Erb’s palsy is neuropraxia. The type of nerve damage can determine the patient’s treatment options and prognosis for recovery. More severe types of Erb’s palsy may require surgery and could cause permanent nerve damage. With avulsion, for example, surgery can help repair the torn nerves but is not able to reattach them to the spine – meaning the damage will be permanent for the child.
Erb’s palsy can develop before the baby is born due to the position of the baby in the uterus during pregnancy and at the onset of labor. One of the most common causes is a condition known as shoulder dystocia, when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone during childbirth. The handling of a baby during a difficult labor can also stretch out or tear the brachial plexus nerves and result in Erb’s palsy.
There are some conditions that increase the risk of Erb’s palsy such as:
If a doctor fails to react correctly and appropriately to a maternal risk factor or complication – such as shoulder dystocia – this can increase the odds of a brachial plexus injury and Erb’s palsy. Pulling too hard on the baby’s arm, head or shoulders could stretch or tear the nerves. During a difficult delivery, a doctor must move quickly and use the proper birthing techniques to get the baby safely out of the birth canal.
It is up to a newborn’s parents and pediatricians to notice the signs of Erb’s palsy so that a prompt diagnosis can be made. It can be difficult for parents to detect Erb’s palsy, as most of them do not know what to look for in their newborn. Although each child and case is unique, some of the most common symptoms of Erb’s palsy are:
Contact your doctor as soon as you notice potential signs of Erb’s palsy or a brachial plexus injury. The sooner your child is diagnosed with this condition, the sooner he or she can receive treatment and start recovery.
A common cause of Erb’s palsy in newborns is medical negligence. This refers to a medical practitioner’s failure to adhere to the applicable standard of care when treating a patient. Obstetrician or gynecologist malpractice during labor and delivery, for example, could inflict serious harm on an infant. Any act or omission that a reasonable and prudent doctor would not have made under similar circumstances can constitute medical negligence.
A common example is a negligent or reckless response to shoulder dystocia during a complicated delivery. If a doctor fails to promptly and correctly respond to this situation, it could result in serious harm to the infant’s brachial plexus. Pulling the baby’s head or neck sideways, pulling the baby’s shoulders, putting too much pressure on the baby’s arm, or pulling on the baby’s feet during a breech delivery could all cause Erb’s palsy. The child’s shoulder, arm or neck could also sustain additional injuries, such as shoulder dislocation or a clavicle fracture.
While some babies make a full recovery from Erb’s palsy, some require extensive treatment and may never make a full recovery. Early intervention after diagnosis is essential for giving a child the best chance at a successful recovery.
Depending on the severity of the case, some patients can make a full recovery with physiotherapy treatments. Others may need surgery and continued physiotherapy. There is no guarantee that they will make a full recovery after treatment. Even with treatment, there is a chance that Erb’s palsy will cause permanent disability in some patients. Our lawyers have experience with both Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy lawsuits in Philadelphia, and they will fight for justice and a full recovery for your family.
If your child has recently been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you believe medical malpractice is to blame, contact an attorney in Philadelphia as soon as possible. An attorney can conduct a comprehensive investigation into the delivery of your child to search for signs of medical negligence, such as improper birthing techniques used by your doctor.
A law firm can correctly identify the party or parties responsible for your child’s medical condition. Then, your attorney can file claims against the responsible health care providers and medical facility to seek maximum financial compensation on your child’s behalf. You can trust your Philadelphia Erb’s palsy attorney to take care of the complicated legal process for you while you focus on your child’s treatment and future.
Obtaining compensation for your child’s Erb’s palsy requires proof of medical negligence. The burden of proof in a personal injury claim is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning enough evidence to show that the defendant is more likely to be responsible for the plaintiff’s injury than not. To win a medical malpractice claim, four elements of proof must be shown:
To prove these four elements, a medical malpractice lawyer must identify and preserve the necessary evidence and retain top medical experts to provide the opinions required under Pennsylvania law. Your attorney must prove your losses and the full extent of your child’s injuries with the medical records, testimony from parents and other loved ones, and expert medical opinions. A lawyer will work tirelessly to pursue the financial compensation that your family deserves.
You should speak with an Philadelphia Erb’s palsy lawyer as soon as possible as your child may be entitled to financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. If your child is entitled to compensation, you must act or else you may lose the chance to make a claim within the applicable time limit.
These cases can be complex given the process required to access and evaluate medical records from the pregnancy until delivery. The qualifications of medical professionals that cared for the patient, the proper use of birthing tools, and the standard of care provided will all be evaluated to determine whether there is a valid case for a Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer.
For aggressive and personalized representation in your Erb’s palsy case, contact the experienced lawyers at Youman & Caputo. Call (215) 302-1999 to schedule a free consultation and assessment of your case.
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