Four Factors That Lead to Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial Plexus PalsyErb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy is a condition that affects the nerves in the shoulder and arm, leading to weakness or paralysis in the affected limb. This condition typically occurs due to injury to the brachial plexus, a network of nerves that control movement and sensation in the shoulder, arm, and hand. Several factors can contribute to the development of brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy), including trauma during birth, which can be caused by medical negligence (carelessness).

During labor and delivery, medical negligence (carelessness) occurs when healthcare providers fail to provide the standard level of care expected in their profession, leading to harm or injury to the child. In the context of Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy), medical negligence (carelessness) can occur in many ways.

Here are four factors involving medical negligence (carelessness) that can contribute to the development of Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy):

1. Failure to recognize and respond to risk factors.

One of the key factors in preventing Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy) is the recognition and management of risk factors during labor and delivery. Healthcare providers have a duty to assess maternal and fetal risk factors, such as macrosomia (large birth weight), maternal diabetes, maternal obesity, and previous history of difficult deliveries or shoulder dystocia. Failure to recognize these risk factors or to appropriately respond to them can constitute medical negligence (carelessness).

For example, if a healthcare provider fails to monitor and control maternal blood sugar levels in a woman with gestational diabetes, resulting in macrosomia, and then proceeds with a vaginal delivery without considering the increased risk of shoulder dystocia, it may lead to brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy) in the infant. Similarly, if a healthcare provider overlooks a history of previous shoulder dystocia in a pregnant woman and does not take appropriate precautions during delivery, it can result in negligence (carelessness) if a subsequent shoulder dystocia occurs and leads to Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy).

2. Improper use of assisted delivery techniques.

Assisted delivery techniques, such as the use of forceps or vacuum extractors, are sometimes necessary to facilitate delivery. However, their improper use or excessive force can increase the risk of brachial plexus injury. Healthcare providers must be adequately trained in the use of these instruments and exercise caution to avoid causing harm to the baby.

Medical negligence (carelessness) may occur if a healthcare provider applies excessive force during an instrumental delivery, leading to stretching or tearing of the brachial plexus nerves. Additionally, failure to recognize indications for an instrumental delivery or using instruments inappropriately when safer alternatives, such as a cesarean section, can also constitute negligence (carelessness).

3. Delayed or inadequate response to shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder dystocia is a childbirth complication where the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone after the head is delivered. Prompt recognition and appropriate management of shoulder dystocia are crucial to prevent brachial plexus injury. Healthcare providers must be trained to perform maneuvers to alleviate shoulder dystocia without causing harm to the baby.

Medical negligence (carelessness) may occur if healthcare providers fail to recognize the signs of shoulder dystocia in a timely manner or if they do not respond promptly and effectively to resolve the obstruction. Delayed or improper maneuvers to dislodge the baby’s shoulder can lead to excessive stretching or compression of the brachial plexus nerves, resulting in Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy).

4. Inadequate information given to the patient.

In some cases, medical negligence (carelessness) in the context of Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy) may involve inadequate informed consent and patient education. Healthcare providers have a duty to inform pregnant women about the risks associated with childbirth, including the risk of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy), especially in high-risk situations.

Failure to adequately inform patients about these risks or to discuss alternative delivery options, such as cesarean section in cases of anticipated shoulder dystocia, may constitute negligence (carelessness). Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their medical care, and healthcare providers must ensure that they understand the potential risks and benefits of different delivery methods.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

The costs of caring for a child with brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) can add up very quickly. If your child’s injury was caused by medical negligence (carelessness), you may be able to seek compensation for damages including loss of earnings, medical expenses, cost of hospitalization, ongoing treatment and therapies, psychological counseling, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

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 in an Erb’s palsy (brachial plexus palsy) case 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 appellate (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. 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 cases where New York City Health and Hospitals 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 Hospitals 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

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury, lead poisoning and medical malpractice cases including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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