Atlanta Erb's Palsy Lawyer
Erb's Palsy Birth Injuries
When your child has been born with Erb's palsy as a result of a doctor's mistake during delivery, come to The Tolson Firm, LLC to speak with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer. We have spent more than 17 years representing the injured and their families and have successfully litigated dozens of multi-million dollar settlements. Lead Attorney Audrey Tolson was personally recruited by famed attorney Johnnie Cochran as the first lawyer to work in the local office of his nationwide practice, and since founding her own firm she has built a strong reputation in our area. She has been named among the Top 100 Female Lawyers in Georgia, as well as being selected for four consecutive years as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in our state. We know how difficult it can be to learn that your child has begun life with such a serious condition, and will do everything we can to help you recover the maximum possible settlement.
What Is Erb's Palsy?
Erb's palsy is a type of brachial plexus injury which involves a severance of the nerves extending from the cervical spine and into the shoulders and arms. Named after the first doctor who discovered the condition, Wilhelm Erb, it occurs most often as a result of shoulder dystocia or when the obstetrician pulls too hard on the baby's shoulders. Many newborns will heal within a period of months, but those who do not may be given invasive surgery involving nerve transplants, which is only successful in some cases. It is estimated that one or two out of every 1,000 babies is born with Erb's palsy.
Erb's palsy may be caused by any of the following:
- Excessive pulling or stretching of an infant's head and shoulders during birth
- Excessive pulling on the shoulders during a head first delivery
- Having a breech birth where the arms are raised and experience excessive pressure
- Improper positioning of the baby in the birth canal
- Improperly using extraction tools such as forceps during delivery
- High-risk pregnancies with labor and delivery problems
Symptoms of Erb's Palsy
Erb's palsy is often confused with cerebral palsy due to the symptoms of paralysis and nerve damage. Erb's Palsy is distinctly recognizable by any weakness or paralysis in the arm. Cases are found with different levels of impairment and case where varying sections of the arm are affected. If the upper part of the arm is experiencing weakness or impairment, the condition is referred to as a brachial plexus injury. When the upper arm has difficulty moving and the lower arm has trouble rotating, then it is designated as Erb's Palsy. Lastly, when the condition is affecting the hand itself, then it is called Klumpke paralysis. Since these injuries are typically sustained during the delivery process, the symptoms of these conditions become apparent almost immediately after birth. Doctors find in Erb's Palsy cases that the affected arm will usually develop more slowly and it may even be smaller than the other.
The most common symptoms of Erb's palsy include:
- Weakness in one arm
- Arm is bent at elbow and held against the body
- Impaired grip strength in the affected hand
- Numbness in the arm
- Weak or no reflexes in the affected arm
- Impaired muscular, nervous, and circulatory development
Treatment for Erb's Palsy
If the injury that the infant sustained is a mild form, then Erb's Palsy could end up healing on its own eventually. Some treatments to help move the recovery and healing process along include physical therapy, massages and range of motion therapy. This keeps the affected arm from becoming stiff and immobile. If the baby has a more severe case of Erb's Palsy, the doctor may suggest surgery once the baby reaches 3-6 months of age. The recovery process with this condition is on the slower side, it may take up to two years in order to see a full recovery and even then the affected arm may still be weaker than the other, with a more limited range of motion.
If you have noticed that you child has limited mobility in one arm and it is especially week, you should seek out a medical opinion as soon as possible. This could mean that there is nerve damage and surgery may or may not be necessary.
Compensation for Children & Families Affected by Erb's Palsy
If your child developed Erb's palsy as a result of medical negligence, you may have grounds to file a legal claim against the responsible parties in pursuit of compensation. While a personal injury claim unfortunately cannot undo the harm inflicted by a negligent professional, it can help to ensure your child's present and future medical needs are met.
An attorney can help you pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Long-term physical therapy
- Surgical costs
Does your child have Erb's palsy?
It is important to detect a birth injury of this type as early as possible. If you have noticed that your child is especially weak in either limb, you should seek a medical examination to determine the cause. Long term symptoms include a loss of sensation and inability to execute the full range of motion in the effected limb. The lack of nerve communication into the region can also result in reduced levels of circulation, leading to an underdeveloped arm which is highly susceptible to infection. If your doctor's medical malpractice caused this injury to your child, you should not hesitate to seek compensation. For more information please visit birthinjurycenter.org/erbs-palsy/.
Contact an Atlanta birth injury attorney at our firm today to discuss the injury and learn what your claim may be worth.
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