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Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of Erb's Palsy
When eagerly anticipating the birth of their child, many expectant parents give little thought to the possibility of a birth injury . Unfortunately, far too many infants suffer serious birth injuries that can result in conditions such as Erb’s palsy, which affects the nerves in the upper body. If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury in Annapolis, medical malpractice lawyers can help you navigate your legal options.
The symptoms of Erb’s palsy can be alarming for parents. Children with Erb’s palsy suffer from weakness in the affected arm. The condition causes varying degrees of impairment that interfere with the movement of the upper arm and the rotation of the lower arm. In severe cases, children may suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis. The child may be unable to move the arm or shoulder, the arm may be bent inward toward the body, and the child may lack reflexes in the arm or have only weak reflexes. Additionally, the child will typically have loss of feeling in the arm.
The nerves that control the movement and sensation of the arm are connected to the brachial plexus, which is a network of nerves in the shoulder area. Erb’s palsy and other brachial plexus injuries occur as a result of damage to these sensitive nerves . Babies are more likely to suffer this type of birth injury if the mother has a prolonged and difficult labor, if the baby is particularly large, and if there is a breech presentation. Delivery techniques are available to reduce the risk of a brachial plexus injury. However, this birth injury can still occur, sometimes as a result of medical malpractice. For example, the healthcare provider may exert excessive pressure on the baby, which can stretch or completely tear the nerves.
Children with this birth injury require intensive therapy. Some children with Erb’s palsy are able to regain some or all of their function and feeling in the affected arm. However, they require daily physical therapy and range of motion exercises. In addition to working with a physical therapist, parents must do these exercises with their child throughout the day to prevent permanent joint contracture. When children do not improve with physical therapy, surgery and rehabilitation may be required. It is possible that a child with Erb’s palsy will be permanently disabled.