Erb's Palsy Malpractice Lawyer in New York City


What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy which is also known as brachial plexus injury is an injury to a group of nerves associated with the upper arm, particularly the upper trunk C5-C6, which is a component of the brachial plexus (a formation of nerves which control the upper limbs). The condition was first described, albeit named “obstetric brachial plexus palsy,” by the obstetrician William Smellie in his treatise on midwifery.

Erb’s Palsy occurs, almost exclusively, in connection to the negligence of an obstetrician during the labor and delivery process. This near exclusivity of causation is because the nature of Erb’s Palsy is such that risk of it occurring happens during the delivery of a newborn, when the child’s head has already emerged from the birth-canal; but, the child’s shoulder remains lodged against the pubic bone. This is called shoulder dystocia. The injury that is Erb’s Palsy occurs when the obstetrician either fails to follow proper protocol to prevent traumatic injury to the brachial plexus, or the obstetrician panics and abandons the protocol altogether.

Erb’s Palsy can range from minor, which may resolve on its own within a few years after the child’s birth to severe Erb’s Palsy, which is observed as a totally disabled, or hypotonic (flaccid) upper limb, which is permanent.

How does Erb’s Palsy Occur?

The injury to the brachial plexus nerves occurs by the negligent pulling of the infant’s head, to either side, while attempting to disengage the impacted shoulder.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy, as mentioned above, can range from mild to severe, and likewise, the level of paralysis the victim suffers from, can range from mild to severe.

The signs of Erb’s Palsy include:

  • arm paralysis;
  • limp arm;
  • arm motor control difficulty;
  • arm sensation symptoms; and,
  • arm numbness.

Generally, however, since Erb’s Palsy occurs, in most cases, during delivery, reporting, by the Erb’s Palsy victim of their complaints is impossible. Therefore, diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy is generally done through circumstantially obtained observations of the infant’s neurological status through employing a technique that tests for what is called “the Moro reflex” (a/k/a the “startle reflex”) whereby the reflex is sought by pulling the infant up and then releasing him/her.

In infants with normal neurological status, that stimulus generates a response in the form of the infant spreading his or her arms, then, pulling his or her arms in; and, then, finally cry.

This is to occur within ten (10) seconds of the initial stimulus; and, if there is disproportion in the reflexes of either arm of the infant, it is usually observed as being indicative of significant neurological impairment, which could be Erb’s Palsy.

If a loved one has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy, contact an Erb’s Palsy lawyer at Finz & Finz, P.C., now toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM or complete the Free Erb’s Palsy Case Evaluation form to find out how Finz & Finz, P.C., can help you.