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What is Erb's palsy?

Most of our readers in Mississippi know that there are quite a few birth injuries and complications that can be on the minds of expecting mothers and fathers. While most births result in healthy babies and healthy mothers, there are, unfortunately, many children who suffer problems due to the negligent care they receive as the result of a doctor error or hospital negligence. One all too common birth injury is Erb's palsy.

What is Erb's palsy? This condition, affecting one to two in every 1,000 children, occurs when a certain network of nerves near the baby's neck is affected in a negative way. Typically, this is caused by significant stretching during a particularly difficult birth. The nerve section in question, referred to by the medical term "brachial plexus," controls movement throughout the baby's entire arm, right down to the hand and fingers. When this center of nerves is negatively impacted, the result is weakness throughout the baby's arm. "Palsy" means "weakness."

Fortunately, many babies who suffer from Erb's palsy at birth will be able to overcome some of the negative symptoms associated with the condition. Physical rehabilitation, which parents may need to participate in at home, can restore some of the strength and movement that is initially limited as a result of this condition.

But, unfortunately, that is not the case in every instance of Erb's palsy. Sometimes this condition can be so severe that the child will lose much of the range of motion they would expect to have in the affected arm. If the condition is proven to have occurred due to the error of medical staff during the birthing process, financial compensation could be available through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Therefore, those families dealing with damage, economic and noneconomic, caused by Erb's palsy, may want to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney.

Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, "Erb's Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy)," Accessed Jan. 10, 2016

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