Childbirth can be overwhelming enough on its own, but when procedures do not go according to plan, the door opens for additional complications and even risks. Erb’s Palsy, also known as brachial plexus birth palsy, is a type of birth injury that can paralyze the arm. While the statute of limitations applies to various types of lawsuits in each state, it is important to know every facet of the injury and to report cases of Erb’s Palsy as quickly as possible. More importantly, actively addressing this issue can make the difference between arm mobility and permanent paralysis.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides extended information on Erb’s Palsy and common causes. The brachial plexus, a network of nerves near the neck that gives rise to all the nerves of the arm, also provides movement to the shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. Palsy refers to the weakness of the arm, and brachial plexus birth palsy causes arm weakness and loss of motion in varying degrees. The AAOS estimates that one or two of every 1,000 babies have Erb’s Palsy. While the injury is serious, daily physical therapy exercises can result in full recovery.
Erb’s Palsy may be a treatable birth injury, but why does it occur in the first place? The U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health point out that, while risk factors include large infants and shoulder dystocia, cesarian sections can also increase risks. And although these types of births inevitably make delivery more difficult, medical malpractice is another common explanation. The Library of Medicine also notes the controversy surrounding poor technique and the type of delivery operator doctors use during childbirth.