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Erb's Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a type of brachial plexus paralysis affecting the muscles and nerves of a newborn baby.

What is Erb's palsy?

Erb’s palsy is a condition that affects movement and control in the arms, and is caused by damage which may occur during birth trauma. Because the condition varies widely from infant to infant, there are a diverse range of symptoms. Some of them include:

  • An inability to move the hand, arm or shoulder
  • Arm is limp and held against the body
  • A loss of sensory function or numbness in the arm
  • Muscular atrophy

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves on each side of the body which supply the arm and hand. The broad range of damage that can be done to the brachial plexus means that symptoms could be local, affecting only the shoulder and upper arm, or the lower arm and hand. Alternatively there could be permanent damage to the entire arm, or in some rare cases, both limbs.

Erb’s palsy only affects 3-4 in every 1,000 babies , but in most instances the condition comes about through medical negligence.

If your baby has been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy and you think that your doctor, midwife or another member of the birthing team's negligence may have caused it, call us on  0800 376 01500800 376 0150  and find out if you can claim compensation.

What causes Erb’s palsy?

The main cause of Erb’s palsy is birth trauma, specifically shoulder dystocia - where an infant’s shoulder is trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone. A member of the birth team who is untrained or rushed in their actions may cause stress on the brachial plexus by attempting to deliver the baby despite an obvious obstruction. This can cause the tearing or straining of the nerves which leads to the condition.

It is important to recognise that alongside any negligence that can occur when delivering a baby, there are various factors and complications that can influence the likelihood of  Erb’s palsy occurring, including;

  • Babies with a large full-term weight or mothers with a particularly small frame
  • Diabetes in the mother
  • Use of vacuum delivery or forceps
  • Obesity in the mother
  • Babies born in breech, or another unusual position

Good doctors will know to take extra care when these factors are present to avoid an injury that might lead to Erb’s palsy, so if any of the above points applied to you before birth and your child still sustained injuries, it could be a sign of medical negligence.

To find out if you can make an Erb’s palsy claim, talk to one of our specially trained legal advisors who will put you in touch with one of our medical solicitors.

Call us on  0800 376 01500800 376 0150 , or fill out our online form to get a call back.

Recovering from, or living with Erb’s palsy

Fortunately, most babies born with Erb’s palsy are diagnosed instantly and can recover within the first year of their life. However, some cases take more than a year to resolve, and treatments can range from massage and physiotherapy to microsurgery, depending on the severity of the condition.

Some children struggle with problems in the affected arm for the rest of their life, whether it’s reduced motor control or setbacks in muscular development.

Whatever the damage caused, it can be an emotionally traumatising time for both the affected child and their family. Compensation can help alleviate some of the stress, and be put towards any care or equipment needed to aid progress and a full recovery.

No Win No Fee: No risk

At National Accident Helpline, we pride ourselves on offering our customers the ability to claim on a no win no fee basis.

We only put you in touch with solicitors who will handle your case on a no win no fee basis, so if you lose your case, you won’t have to pay a penny. There’s no risk to you, all you need to do is call us on 0800 376 01500800 376 0150 to discover whether you may have a valid claim.

Although the process can sometimes take years, we try to make it as smooth and hassle free as possible, so you can get on with your life while our team of expert medical negligence solicitors work on your case.

If you have any questions, why not use our live chat service or visit our frequently asked questions page? We’re happy to help.

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