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Erb's Palsy

Baltimore Erb's Palsy Lawyer

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Before, during, and immediately following delivery are some of the most crucial moments in a baby’s life. Anything and everything a medical professional does or fails to do during these moments can have lasting and permanent effects for a mother and child. This is why it is so vital that doctors and nurses be especially careful during the most crucial moments. Sadly, negligence can still occur, and when it does, it can cause serious debilitating conditions, like Erb’s palsy.

If your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, you should contact an experienced birth injury lawyer immediately to determine whether medical negligence is to blame. If negligence caused your child’s condition, you may be entitled to collect compensation for your child.

Get in touch with an Erb's palsy lawyer serving Baltimore, (410) 698-1717 for a free case evaluation.

What Is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne palsy, is a condition typically caused by a brachial plexus injury, such as when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone during labor and delivery. The condition involves permanent damage to the nerves in a baby’s shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and fingers.

Common symptoms of Erb's palsy include:

  • Weakness or paralysis in the affected arm: The most noticeable symptom is the inability to move the affected arm or limited movement compared to the unaffected arm.
  • Loss of sensation: Some individuals with Erb's palsy may experience numbness or decreased sensation in the affected arm.
  • Lack of muscle control: The affected arm may have muscle stiffness or floppiness, making it difficult to control movements.
  • Arm held at the side: In severe cases, the affected arm may hang limply at the side of the body, with the elbow bent and the forearm rotated inward.
  • Limited range of motion: Individuals with Erb's palsy may have difficulty with certain movements, such as lifting the arm overhead or rotating the shoulder.
  • Abnormal reflexes: Reflexes in the affected arm may be diminished or absent compared to the unaffected arm.

If the condition isn’t timely recognized by a doctor or nurse and treated properly, a baby’s nerves can be stretched and permanently damaged during delivery.

What Causes Erb’s Palsy?

When a child is born, their delicate neck and shoulder area must pass through the cervix and any pressure on the brachial plexus or neck nerves can cause those nerves to rupture or bruise. In some cases, a brachial plexus injury may be inevitable, and doctors may not be able to limit the impact on a child.

Most cases are caused by physical injury during the delivery process.

Some of the most common causes of Erb’s palsy include:

  • Poor angling of the baby through the birth canal: Prior to labor, the unborn baby moves down through the uterus. A baby may become tangled in the process, and their arms can pass over their head as the baby exits the womb. In such a case, a skilled physician should be actively working to mitigate the risk of nerve damage by performing certain medical maneuvers and checking scans.
  • Stretching of the arms during a breech birth: When a baby is delivered in a breech presentation, the doctor may need to pull them out by the legs. If this is done incorrectly, the baby’s arms may extend over their head during labor, causing the brachial plexus nerves to tear or stretch.
  • Incorrect use of forceps during delivery: Forceps and vacuum extraction tools can be dangerous, so although they’ve saved many lives in difficult labor situations, they must be handled with care. Using forceps may result in a brachial plexus injury or in shoulder dystocia.

Medical Conditions Associated with Erb's Palsy

The following are several specific injuries or medical conditions that can be related to Erb's palsy:

  • Brachial plexus injury: This is the primary condition associated with Erb's palsy. It occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus, which control movement and sensation in the shoulder, arm, and hand, are stretched, compressed, or torn during childbirth. This injury can lead to weakness or paralysis in the affected arm.
  • Shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia is a complication that can occur during childbirth when the baby's shoulder gets stuck behind the mother's pubic bone. This can put excessive pressure on the brachial plexus nerves, leading to injury and the development of Erb's palsy.
  • Klumpke's palsy: Klumpke's palsy is another type of brachial plexus injury, but it affects the lower brachial plexus nerves, specifically the nerves that control the muscles of the hand and forearm. Unlike Erb's palsy, which primarily affects the upper arm and shoulder, Klumpke's palsy leads to weakness or paralysis in the hand and forearm.
  • Horner's syndrome: Horner's syndrome is a rare condition that can occur as a result of damage to the lower brachial plexus nerves. Symptoms of Horner's syndrome include drooping of the eyelid (ptosis), constriction of the pupil (miosis), and decreased sweating on one side of the face.
  • Nerve avulsion: In severe cases of brachial plexus injury, the nerves can be completely torn away from the spinal cord, resulting in nerve avulsion. This type of injury often requires surgical intervention to repair the damaged nerves and restore function to the affected arm.
  • Neuropathic pain: Some individuals with Erb's palsy may experience neuropathic pain, which is a type of chronic pain caused by damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Neuropathic pain can be difficult to treat and may require a combination of medications and other therapies to manage effectively.

Can Erb’s Palsy Be Prevented?

Not every instance of Erb’s palsy is caused by a doctor or nurse’s negligence. However, many cases of Erb’s palsy could have been prevented if the attending physician properly identified and avoided the known risks of Erb’s palsy, including:

  • The mother’s narrow hips or small pubic bone
  • A large-sized or overweight baby
  • The use of forceps, a vacuum, or other delivery tools
  • The mother has gestational diabetes
  • Prolonged labor

How does a Lawyer Establish Negligence?

When a medical professional fails to identify and avoid risks to a patient’s health, it could be considered negligent. If the professional’s negligence can be proven, the patient may be able to claim compensation. You may be able to claim compensation for your child if they were harmed during birth.

However, proving negligence can be complicated and difficult, so you may want to leave it to a lawyer from our firm. To establish a person’s negligence, you or your lawyer must:

  • Show that the medical professional/their employer owed your child a duty of care, or a responsibility to perform in a manner that protects your baby from harm
  • Show that the professional/employer breached their duty, or failed in their responsibility to perform safely
  • Show that your baby suffered injuries
  • Show that the professional/employer’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of your child’s injuries

What Kind of Compensation Could I Claim for My Child?

The aim of filing an insurance claim or lawsuit is to obtain financial compensation for your child’s injuries and related issues. You’ll be able to cover out-of-pocket expenses for your child’s healthcare, and your child will be compensated for their suffering and disability.

Our attorneys have recovered many different damages for their clients, including:

  • Medical expenses and related expenses, including the costs of any necessary surgeries
  • The costs of physical and occupational therapies
  • The costs of accessibility devices
  • Lost work wages for family members who must care for their child
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish

Can You Sue for Erb’s palsy?

You can sue for your child’s Erb’s palsy. However, if you’re considering filing a lawsuit, you should act soon. In Maryland, parents have 5 years from the date of an incident or 3 years from the date of an Erb’s palsy discovery–whichever is sooner–to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, per Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. §  5-109. There are complexities to this rule though. One of our firm’s attorneys can help you meet this deadline.

Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with an Erb's palsy lawyer serving Baltimore.

About Our Firm

Our legal team represents some of the most vulnerable people in our community, including medical patients and children. We know it can be difficult or impossible for some of these people to stand up to large entities, like hospitals, and their insurers, so we want to support these people in their efforts.

To support our clients, we provide comprehensive legal services. We investigate incidents for them, build their cases, and negotiate on their behalf with insurers. When necessary, we go to court for our clients and defend them there.

We’re leaders in our profession with a strong track record. Many of our attorneys have achieved multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients. Many of our clients have chosen us because of our track record but also because we care about them and our community.

You Deserve Our Support

Your attending physician and medical staff had a duty to properly assess all the risks and respond appropriately and promptly. If you believe your doctor failed in their duty to you and your baby, contact our Baltimore Erb’s palsy lawyers.

Contact Our Team Today

If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, one of our attorneys at Brown & Barron wants to fight on your behalf for the compensation your child deserves. We will thoroughly investigate your Baltimore County case to determine whether your child’s injury was caused by negligence or malpractice.

Our trusted legal team is determined to help the devastated parents of children suffering from birth injuries obtain the compensation they deserve. Don’t face this difficult and stressful time without our help and support. 

Call our firm today for a free consultation with a member of our team.

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    Brown & Barron has a history of results-oriented representation and we have obtained more than $90 million for our clients since 2017. Our team has a proven record of restoring lives and restoring justice.

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