Physician errors that lead to cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy

Birth injuries can occur when medical professionals fail to recognize babies’ needs or identify potential risks to a baby before, during or after birth. Two birth injuries that could be caused by physicians’ mistakes include cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. Although they sound similar, these conditions are very different, but the common denominator in both might be a medical error.

A child with cerebral palsy might display difficulty moving or show signs of impaired brain function. The condition actually refers to a range of disorders often stemming from a brain injury a baby sustains in utero, while being delivered or shortly afterward. A head trauma following delivery could lead to a brain bleed that causes cerebral palsy. A baby not getting enough oxygen while being born is also a known cause of the condition. This might result if an obstetrician does not order a caesarean section in time to ensure a baby has an adequate oxygen supply. Being born very early or having a mother take a dangerous prescription medication while pregnant could also cause a baby to be born with cerebral palsy.

One out of every 500 babies is born with Erb’s palsy, a birth injury also known as brachial palsy. Sometimes, doctors use vacuum devices or forceps to aid in delivery of babies with shoulder dystocia, which hinders birth. This can put too much pressure on a baby’s head, shoulder or neck, tearing or rupturing the brachial plexus nerves that run from the spinal cord to the arm. Mishandling shoulder dystocia or failing to order a C-section are doctor errors that could lead to Erb’s palsy.

Parents whose children experience birth injuries due to physician error or negligence might be entitled to compensation from the medical staff involved and the facility where the baby was delivered. An attorney could listen to the facts surrounding the injury and advise parents whether they have a cause to seek recompense. Acting as a negotiator or representing a victim’s family in court are two ways in which an attorney could offer assistance.

Source: findlaw.com, “Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy“, September 07, 2014

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