There are several types of birth injuries that can have an effect on children for the rest of their lives. One such injury is Erb’s Palsy, an injury to the nerve network located in the neck and upper chest that gives feeling and control to the shoulders and arms. If during childbirth the baby’s shoulders become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone and there is an attempt to deliver the baby by excessive pulling of the baby’s head during delivery, there is an increased likelihood that Erb’s Palsy will occur. This injury may result in loss of movement and feeling in the arm, hand, and fingers.
Symptoms of Erb’s Palsy include:
- A limp arm.
- The arm or hand lack movement. When the infant is rolled from side to side an affected arm may flop.
- The infant may be missing the Moro reflex, which causes a startled infant to react to a sudden, loud noise by stretching out their arms and flexing their legs.
- The infant is unable to hold their arm in a normal position (flexed at the elbow and held against the body).
- The affected side will have a decreased ability to grip.
In most cases, incidents of Erb’s palsy result from the stretching of the nerve and the infant will heal within six to twelve months of delivery. Stretching of the nerve rarely leaves permanent damage. However, in rare cases where the nerves are torn, they will not heal on their own. This may result in permanent paralysis or impairment.
An Otsego County family has been awarded $2.1 million by a civil jury after they heard a medical malpractice case involving an Erb’s palsy birth injury. The lawsuit was brought by the mother of a seven year old girl. The lawsuit claimed that the mother, Delores Brandenburg, did not receive the correct prenatal care and that one of the defendants, a certified nurse midwife named Patricia Brown, caused the birth injury to her daughter by pulling on the baby’s head too hard during deliver. As a result of the birth injury, Brandenburg’s daughter now has permanent injury to the nerves in her neck. This injury has limited the mobility of her left arm.
Six members of a jury in the Supreme Court of Otsego County heard the lawsuit. After a three week trial the jury determined that $2.1 million settlement, all of which is to go to Brandenburg’s daughter.
If your child has suffered a permanent birth injury, such as Erb’s Palsy and you believe that it could have been caused by medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.
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