Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy occurs when the network of nerves near the neck that help control the muscles of the shoulder and arms become injured or affected. These types of injuries that commonly occur during a child’s birth may affect movement and sensation in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. In many cases, brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy causes weakness and loss of motion in the arm.
Symptoms and Disabilities
When it comes to Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus palsy, a child’s disabilities and symptoms may vary depending on the location and severity of the birth injuries. In some cases, the child’s arm may hang by the side of the body and rotate inwards. If the arm is weak, the grip strength may be limited as well.
The development of the circulatory and nervous systems as well as muscle development may be limited. Children may have limited motion in the shoulder, down the arm or in the wrist. Their arm may be numb or it may be partially or even totally paralyzed.
What Causes brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s Palsy)?
Often times, when doctors don’t monitor the health of the mother and baby properly during the pregnancy, they may miss several red flags, which may indicate a prolonged or difficult labor. For example, when a baby is in a breech position (feet first instead of head first), the child’s shoulder may get stuck against the mother’s pelvis. When this occurs, the risk of a brachial plexus (Erb’s palsy) injury nearly triples.
Excessive force or pulling of the child may make the problem worse. Some of the common risk factors for brachial plexus (Erb’s palsy) include a large infant; a mother’s small or abnormal pelvis shape; obesity or gestational diabetes; placental issues; or abnormalities with the umbilical cord. When there are issues or risk factors in a pregnancy, it may be best to schedule a Cesarean section instead of a vaginal birth.
What Are Your Child’s Rights?
If your child has disabilities as a result of suffering brachial plexus (Erb’s palsy) injuries at birth, it is important that you are aware of what his or her rights are:
Americans with Disabilities Act: This is a federal law, which has protections in place for people with disabilities. This act was designed to help limit or eliminate the negative impact any unfair policies or behaviors may have on a disabled person. The act prohibits discrimination of disabled people and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in education, employment and other areas. The ADA requires reasonable accommodations must be made to allow disabled people including children access to activities, events, facilities, services and more.
Disability Benefits: Children 18 years old and under can get Social Security benefits if they meet the definition of disability for children and there are limited income and resources in their household. Social Security defines a disability as a “physical or mental condition that very seriously limits” a child’s activities. The conditions should have lasted at least one year. Most children who suffer the serious consequences of Erb’s palsy and live in low-income households may qualify for these benefits.
Monetary compensation: 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 medical expenses, cost of hospitalization, ongoing treatment and therapies, psychological counseling, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, loss of earnings, 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 $1,846,000 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. 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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