If your child has suffered an Erb’s palsy injury due to medical negligence, you need a serious recovery. You and your family will need the assistance of a skilled Virginia medical malpractice attorney to help you achieve that recovery for your child. Birth injury cases are challenging, and you need an experienced malpractice attorney on your side to win maximum compensation for your child’s injuries.

What is Erb’s Palsy? 

Erb’s palsy, also called Erb’s paralysis, was named after Dr. Wilhelm Erb. It refers to an injury to specific nerves, known as the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a vital network of nerves near the neck. It plays a crucial role in controlling hand and arm movements. A diagnosis of Erb’s palsy in an infant involves weakened arm functionality and restricted motion.  

This condition is often attributed to improper birthing practices. Erb’s palsy can be caused by excessive stretching, also known as traction, of an infant’s neck during delivery. If your child has suffered this type of injury during childbirth, you and your child may have a serious claim for medical malpractice. 

The bottom line is, if the obstetrician or birthing center failed to meet the standard of care in managing the delivery, both the child and the mother may have malpractice claims. 

Erb’s Palsy Symptoms: Recognizing The Signs 

Babies born with Erb’s palsy, especially those delivered using vacuum devices or forceps, may exhibit symptoms such as arm paralysis, limited hand and finger movements, and reduced sensation in the hands and fingers. They may also develop scapular winging. Typically, injured infants with this condition will hold their affected arm close to their bodies due to the inability to move it freely. This can cause a long-term, permanently disfiguring disability if not recognized and treated. 

Erb’s Palsy Prevention 

Complications during labor and delivery often lead to Erb’s palsy. Failures in employing correct delivery techniques or timely identification of potential issues before and during birth significantly increase the risk of birth injuries.

Doctors, such as obstetricians, or labor and delivery nurses, may contribute to Erb’s palsy through: 

  • Inadequate delivery methods 
  • Excessive force on the baby’s head, neck, or shoulder 
  • Failure to recognize the need for a cesarean section 
  • Failure to adapt birthing plan in a timely manner 

Such medical oversights can result in profound challenges for both mother and child.  

Because Erb’s palsy often results from excessive traction to the infant’s head after shoulder dystocia during a vaginal delivery, prevention must focus on either preventing shoulder dystocia from occurring or managing it properly during the delivery.  

Shoulder dystocia refers to the baby’s shoulder getting stuck behind the mother’s pubis symphysis. Large babies get stuck more than smaller babies.

Therefore, during the pregnancy, the OB-GYN should be monitoring for excessive fetal weight and for conditions, such as gestational diabetes, that can contribute to excessive fetal weight. Obstetricians and NPs should be using tools such as measuring fundal height and ultrasound to evaluate and predict the size of the baby.  

If shoulder dystocia develops during labor, the birthing staff must remain calm and avoid use of excessive traction to the baby’s head or neck. The McRobert’s maneuver and suprapubic pressure that can relieve the shoulder dystocia are recognized techniques that can prevent injury.

Other times, doctors may have to deliver the posterior shoulder or even intentionally fracture the baby’s clavicle. In some cases, there are even other techniques that will need to be used. The most important thing is that they need to avoid pulling down on the baby’s head or neck. 

Navigating Erb’s Palsy Treatment In Virginia 

While physical therapy and medical interventions can alleviate some injuries, severe cases may necessitate surgical procedures to mend damaged nerves. These therapies and surgeries can exhaust a family’s medical budget quickly, not to mention the emotional aspects of caring for an injured child.  

Treating Erb’s palsy may cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. The surgeries and therapies are expensive. Even with health insurance coverage, many parents grapple with substantial medical debts. Moreover, the emotional toll on families coping with any type of injury to their newborn child can be immense and enduring. For this reason, it is important to seek legal representation if medical negligence is suspected to be the cause of your baby’s Erb’s paralysis diagnosis. 

Seeking Legal Assistance For Erb’s Palsy Birth Injuries 

Birth injuries including brachial plexus injuries which are suspected to be caused by OB/GYN negligence are filed under medical malpractice laws in Virginia. For parents confronting birth-related palsy injuries, consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is crucial. The attorneys at Wallace Wason, PLLC understand that, and have the experience necessary in medical malpractice to fight for justice for your child’s injuries. Not every attorney can handle the complicated requirements of medical malpractice cases, but we have more than 30 years experience in these types of cases. 

Contact A Virginia Erb’s Palsy Birth Injury Attorney Today 

If your child has been affected by brachial plexus injuries resulting in Erb’s palsy, taking proactive legal steps is paramount. Address the potential cause and pursue rightful compensation for your family’s losses. Reach out to an experienced birth injury attorney today to discuss your case and seek the justice your child deserves. We offer a free, confidential case evaluation – call us today. (703) 638-7717 

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