Virtually every parent in Louisiana would agree that one of the most natural occurrences in the world is the birth of a child. Women’s bodies are designed to handle the strain of pregnancy and birth. However, on occasion, something can go wrong, resulting in permanent conditions such as Cerebral Palsy or Erb’s Palsy. These two conditions are a direct result of trauma during birth.
Where Cerebral Palsy affects brain and body movement, Erb’s Palsy affects the movement and mobility of a baby’s arm or arms. When excessive pressure is exerted on a baby’s shoulder, neck or head during delivery, it can tear a bundle of nerves called the brachial plexus that leads from the spinal cord into the arms and hands. When a baby’s arm or arms are limp or paralyzed, a tear to the brachial plexus is most likely the cause.
If the nerve bundle is not torn, but only bruised, movement may return to the arms on its own. However, when tearing occurs, additional treatment and even surgery may be required. Even then, there is no guarantee that the child will ever have normal use of an arm or arms again.
In many cases, the trauma occurs when the baby is too large to be born naturally without assistance. Incorrect use of a vacuum or forceps can lead to Erb’s Palsy. In many cases, it may have been better for these babies to be born by Cesarean, but the obstetrician failed to stop the natural birth in favor of this option. Louisiana parents whose children are born with Erb’s Palsy may file a medical malpractice claim against the obstetrician and any other parties deemed responsible for the injury.
Source: FindLaw, “Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy“, , Sept. 5, 2014