A brachial plexus injury or Erb’s palsy is a condition that is caused by damage to a set of nerves that are part of the brachial plexus. This type of damage often occurs at birth. Some babies may even suffer severe nerve damage during birth that causes complete paralysis of one arm. An Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy settlement or verdict can help provide families of affected children with much-needed compensation so they can get the ongoing treatments and therapies they need to cope with what may be a lifelong disability.
Brachial Plexus Injuries (Erb’s palsy) and Disabilities
The brachial plexus is a group of five nerves that control the arm. These nerves not only provide function and movement to the arm and shoulder muscles, but also provide sensation to all parts of the arm. They connect smaller nerves in all parts of the arm to the spinal cord and run through the bones of the neck as well. When a doctor or medical professional pulls on the arm, shoulder, neck or head during birth in a way that stretches the head and shoulder away from each other, the nerves may get torn or damaged.
This may happen when a baby is stuck or when a doctor uses birth-assistive tools such as forceps or vacuum devices and applies excessive force during delivery leading to the nerves of the brachial plexus becoming damaged. Any prolonged or complex labor presents a high risk of a brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy).
Permanent Injury and Coping with Disability
Living with this condition can be quite a challenge for the child as well as the parents. The limitations on daily activities for a child or even an adult with a brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy) really depend on the extent of the nerve injury and whether or not the affected limb is their dominant arm. Severe Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy) can significantly impair even day-to-day activities such as dressing, bathing, washing one’s hair, preparing meals, driving and being involved in sports and hobbies.
Even little things like opening cans and packages, holding and cutting food or lifting heavy trays or dishes can become difficult. For someone with a severe brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy), the task of driving a vehicle would be extremely difficult, typically requiring some type of vehicle adaptation/fitting and in most cases would be impossible. Access to sports and hobbies can also be difficult. Children may have to deal with the emotional struggles of getting left out of sports and activities. Even riding a bike is difficult when you don’t have the use of one arm.
Victims who have suffered a brachial plexus injury or Erb’s palsy because of medical negligence (carelessness) or mistakes made by the doctor or medical team may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, cost of surgeries, hospitalizations, permanent injury, disability, past and future pain and suffering, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has suffered a birth injury such as a brachial plexus injury or Erb’s palsy, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
One of our clients secured a $2,850,000 verdict that was reduced by the appeals court to $1,846,000 because the verdict was so large. This was the highest amount upheld by the appeals courts for many, many years. In addition we recovered $1,400,000 for a newborn who lost motion in the arm during birth due to doctors applying incorrect force on the baby’s head. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
We have seen many cases where New York City Health and Hospital Corporation facilities deliver babies who are born with cerebral palsy or Brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) stemming from negligence (carelessness), and/or medical malpractice in the labor and delivery etc. of the children.
The following list identifies some of these hospitals (operated by New York City Health and Hospital Corporation):
• Jacobi Hospital aka Bronx Municipal 1400 Pelham Parkway South Bronx, New York 10461 718-918-5000
• Lincoln Hospital 234 East 149th Street Bronx, New York 10451 718-579-5000
• North Central Bronx Hospital 3424 Kossuth Avenue Bronx, New York 10467 718-519-5000
• Coney Island Hospital 2601 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11235 718-616-3000
• Kings County Hospital 451 Clarkson Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11203 718-245-3131
• Woodhull Hospital 760 Broadway Brooklyn, New York 11206 718-963-8000
• Bellevue Hospital 462 First Avenue New York, New York 10016 212-562-5555
• Harlem Hospital 506 Lenox Avenue New York, New York 10037 212-939-1000
• Metropolitan Hospital 1901 First Avenue New York, New York 10029 212-423-6262
• Elmhurst Hospital 79-01 Broadway Elmhurst, New York 11373 718-334-4000
• Queens Hospital Center 82-68 164th Street Jamaica, New York 11432 718-883-3000
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