Brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy is a condition caused by damage to a group of nerves in the brachial plexus. These types of injuries typically occur during birth where there are complications or where the mother is in a prolonged labor. A number of children end up suffering long-term consequences and severe damage as a result of these birth injuries including complete paralysis of the affected arm. In cases where the injuries were caused by medical negligence (carelessness), a brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) settlement or verdict can help provide a better quality of life for the child.
Erb’s Palsy and Disabilities
The brachial plexus is a group of five nerves that control the muscles of the arm. These nerves also provide sensation to all parts of the arm as well as coordinated movement to each muscle in the arm. They also connect smaller nerves to the spinal cord. During a difficult or prolonged labor, when a child’s arm, shoulder, head or neck is pulled with excessive force, it may stretch or tear the nerves of the brachial plexus, leading to brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy.
Such damage may be caused my incompetence or negligence (carelessness) on the part of medical professionals. For example, when an obstetrician uses birth-assistive tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors with too much force, there is the potential for injuries to the nerves of the brachial plexus. Any prolonged or painful labor presents a higher risk of fetal distress and brachial plexus damage. Some babies may require surgery and/or ongoing physical therapy. When there are tears or avulsions of the nerves, they may be impossible to repair and children end up living with a lifelong disability.
The Role of Medical Negligence (carelessness)
The most common cause of brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy is due to the nerves getting stretched or damaged. When there is medical negligence (carelessness) in these cases (for instance, a doctor and/or other medical professional’s actions or lack of action caused the damage) the parents of the injured child may be able to receive a brachial plexus palsy settlement or verdict.
Medical negligence or malpractice may cause brachial plexus palsy in many ways. Sometimes, it may simply be because a doctor failed to recognize complications during the delivery. For example, if the baby is larger than average or if the baby is in breech position (feet first as opposed to head first), labor may become complicated and prolonged. In such cases, doctors may need to make that important decision to perform a Cesarean section, which may help prevent the nerve damage and brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy.
The Financial Implications
When a child suffers moderate or severe damage, he or she may need a lot of treatment – most of it ongoing. Even with treatment, some children may not fully recover, depending on the severity of the injuries. Children may need multiple surgeries just to improve functionality. Medical expenses can pile up very quickly. A brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) lawsuit may be the way to get the compensation you need for your child’s ongoing treatment and care.
A lawsuit is also one way to get justice for a child who is living with a disability and hold the negligent (careless) parties accountable. A lawsuit can provide your family with compensation that will help pay for your injured child’s care. Your child may also need ongoing rehabilitation, therapy and care. In some cases, they may also require adaptive equipment to be able to function every day.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If your child has brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy), he or she may be able to receive compensation that helps pay for medical expenses, lost income, cost of therapy, future treatments, 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 for Erb’s palsy 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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