There are a number of different types of birth injuries that occur during a difficult labor and delivery. Erb’s palsy is a birth injury that leaves children with potentially lifelong disabilities, affecting the use of their arm. It is important to know that Erb’s palsy can be prevented with proper prenatal care, fetal monitoring and/or by making a timely decision to perform a Cesarean section instead of going for a vaginal birth. If you believe your child has suffered Erb’s palsy as the result of a doctor or medical professional’s negligence, please understand that you have legal rights.
Here are the four most common questions our birth injury lawyers get asked about Erb’s palsy:
1. What is Erb’s Palsy?
According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury, which refers to injury of the brachial plexus – a network of nerves near the neck from which the nerves of the arm originate. These nerves serve a crucial function, which is to provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, hand and fingers. The word “palsy” means weakness. Erb’s palsy causes weakness and loss of motion. One out of every 1,000 babies has this condition. It often occurs when a baby’s neck is stretched during a difficult labor and delivery.
2. What causes Erb’s palsy?
Erb’s palsy occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are stretched or torn during childbirth. This may happen when the head and shoulder of the baby are forced in opposite directions. Situations that lead to the condition include when the baby’s shoulders move through the birth canal, when the child’s shoulders are stretched during a head-first delivery, or during a breech birth (feet-first delivery) when there is increased pressure on the arms.
There are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood of a child developing Erb’s palsy. A larger baby has a greater risk of injury during birth since he or she may have a more difficult time coming out of the birth canal. Breech delivery, prolonged labor, shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck against the mother’s pelvis) are all risk factors that may put pressure on the brachial plexus and cause serious damage.
3. How will Erb’s palsy affect my child?
One of the most common effects of Erb’s palsy is that it weakens the arm, which means that your child may have limited or no range of motion in that arm. There may also be long-term effects as a result of this type of injury including loss of feeling and sensation in the affected arm. Often, children are unable to make a complete recovery from brachial plexus injuries. Even treatment or surgery may not be able to cure the condition. The cost of surgery and continued treatment and/or rehabilitation can add up very quickly. This is why it is important that the family of a child that has suffered such an injury speak with an experienced Erb’s palsy lawyer.
4. What is my Erb’s palsy case worth?
The value or worth of any personal injury lawsuit depends on the nature and extent of the injuries sustained. It will also depend on the degree of negligence on the part of the doctor and/or the medical staff, which caused your child’s injuries. If your child has suffered permanent injuries, disabilities, deformities, etc. as a result of his or her brachial plexus injury, it would be in your best interest to immediately contact an experienced New York Erb’s palsy lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you obtain just compensation. Erb’s palsy victims may be able to seek compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, hospitalization, surgery, permanent injury, disability, past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and loss of earnings potential, etc.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
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 $1,850,000 because the verdict was so large. This was the highest amount upheld by the appellate 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.
We have seen many cases where New York City Health and Hospital Corporation hospitals deliver babies who are born with cerebral palsy or erb’s palsy stemming from negligence 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 718-245-31 BIGGEST HOSPITAL IN THE WORLD
• 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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