Unfortunately, one of the most joyous times in a person’s life can be marred by something going wrong. This is exactly the case of a birth injury that causes the baby significant — and often long-term — harm. During the pregnancy, during labor, and following delivery, it is important for the doctor, nursing staff, and other medical professionals to make sure they are taking the proper steps to monitor the mother and baby. Failure to do so could lead to the baby suffering serious physical or mental problems such as Erb’s palsy, a disorder the can cause an impairment for the baby’s entire life.
It is important to know that Erb’s palsy can occur due to a physical injury to the baby during delivery and the severity of the symptoms vary from mild to severe. The disorder occurs when the baby’s nerves in their upper arm are damaged. This form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder occurs in about one or two out of every 1,000 births. At The Law Office of Snyder & Snyder, P.A., our Baltimore birth injury attorneys believe you should know the causes of Erb’s palsy, as well as some of the early signs you may notice in order to determine if your baby is suffering from the condition.
Potential Causes & Risks
There are numerous potential causes and risks that could lead to Erb’s palsy, but oftentimes, it is the negligence of the obstetrician that results in the disorder. For instance, excessive pulling on the shoulders to help with the delivery process may cause damage to the nerves in the upper arm. Similarly, if a doctor fails to monitor and identify a breech birth, where the baby is delivered feet or buttocks first, the delivery could also lead to Erb’s palsy because of the strain it could put on the baby. These are both situations that may occur because of the doctor’s negligence and failure to monitor in the matter.
Other potential causes and risks may include improper use of forceps, excessive use of vacuum extraction tools, prolonged delivery, and long-lasting labor. Erb’s palsy commonly develops due to excessive stretching of the baby’s neck and head during delivery, but the likelihood of developing the disorder triples should the infant develop shoulder dystocia, another injury that may occur due to medical negligence during labor.
Symptoms You May Notice
Because of the various effects of Erb’s palsy, it is important to recognize the early signs to help seek treatment, if necessary. The most evident factor is weakness in the baby’s affected arm. He or she may favor it, or they may be unable to move it at all. Based on the various signs of soreness or weakness, you can determine the severity of the condition. You may notice that the baby shows total or partial paralysis of the arm or a decreased ability to fully grip with the hand on the baby’s affected arm.
Some other symptoms you may notice are a limp arm, loss of sensory or motor function in the upper arm, numbness, and impairments in the baby’s circulatory, nervous, and muscular development. It is important to make sure mothers know what options they have to treat the problems associated with Erb’s palsy.
At Snyder & Snyder, we know how the effects of Erb’s palsy can impact your family. It is not an easy situation to deal with and it is important to know that you have someone on your side who is willing to help. Our Baltimore birth injury lawyers can work with you and guide you towards the path towards seeking compensation. Call us today for your free consultation.