Erb’s palsy or brachial plexus injury is a birth injury that typically occurs in cases where the mother and baby have endured a long and difficult labor. These types of injuries are often the result of trauma to the nerves of the upper brachial plexus – the shoulder or upper arm – especially after a lengthy delivery. Erb’s palsy causes weakness or paralysis of the arm on the affected side. Whether the child will suffer long-term consequences as a result of the birth injury will depend on the location and severity of the trauma. In cases where the nerves of the upper brachial plexus etc. are severely damaged, the arm that is affected may suffer from permanent weakness or paralysis.
What Are the Complications?
It is critical for parents to understand the potential long-term health complications their children may face down the line, if they have suffered trauma at birth, especially those involving Erb’s palsy. Some of these issues may remain with your child for decades or even for the rest of their lives. Here are some of the long-term complications of Erb’s palsy you should be aware of:
Reduced strength: It is important to remember that the degree of strength we have in a certain part of our body is dependent on how well that area is supplied with nerves. When you have a lower nerve supply, there are also fewer functioning muscular units. So, when you have fewer nerves, you tend to have less strength and stamina in that part of the body. This type of decreased strength and stamina cannot be treated by therapy or exercise. While physical therapy may help increase strength and function, it may be impossible to reverse the effect the loss of nerve supply has on muscular function.
Changes in movement: When the baby lacks adequate nerve supply, his or her muscles don’t move normally. For example, if your child’s arm is to function properly, there needs to be a balance in muscle strength in surrounding areas of the body. However, an injury of the brachial plexus tends to cause abnormal movement and affects an individual’s joints. This may result in a limited range of motion. Also, when you have several years of abnormal movement, there is stress on the joints, which may result in osteoarthritis.
Horner’s Syndrome: This refers to a drooping eyelid on the side, which is caused by a brachial plexus injury. Someone with Horner’s Syndrome may also have a slightly elevated lower lid and constricted pupil. Children with Horner’s Syndrome might also have different pupil sizes. The affected eyes might appear sunken and they might experience little to no sweating on the affected side of the face. Also, the iris in each eye might be a different color in some cases.
Limb length: Because of muscular atrophy and impaired bone growth, children with Erb’s palsy may have significant discrepancies in limb length and size. This becomes much more visible as children grow into adulthood because it becomes a noticeable disfigurement. Once again, the degree of the deformity will largely depend on the nature and extent of the nerve damage.
Psychological issues: Your child may also face a number of psychological challenges as he or she learns to cope with disabilities and possibly, disfigurement. This may affect your child’s relationships and social interactions. Psychological issues might especially surface as children move into the pre-teen and teen years.
Contacting an Erb’s Palsy Lawyer
Dealing with the long-term complications of Erb’s palsy is challenging both, emotionally and financially. Therapy costs for individuals with this condition can add up very quickly. If your child has suffered an arm injury at birth or has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost income and benefits, loss of livelihood, hospital and rehabilitation costs, 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 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 the 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
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 and medical malpractice 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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