New Jersey Erb’s Palsy Lawyers
Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial palsy or Erb–Duchenne palsy is a frightening, traumatic form of nerve damage commonly sustained during childbirth. Erb’s palsy affects the brachial plexus, which is a group of nerves that controls the arms, shoulders, and hands. Depending on the severity of the injury, the condition causes paralysis, muscle weakness, numbness, and a lack of sensation or a deterioration of reflexes. Any of these disabilities can affect a child’s ability to study, play and live a full life.
This condition gets its name from a group of nerves that meet above the collarbone at a location known as Erb’s point. The brachial plexus contains six nerve types that are a critical part of the peripheral nervous system. Injuries to the C5 and C6 nerve pathways can paralyze the muscles in the arm, shoulder, and hand. Damage to the C7 and C8 pathways or the first thoracic nerve causes a condition known as Klumpke paralysis that affects the hand and grasping reflex. Brachial palsy is caused by these forms of nerve damage. Here are other facts about Erb’s palsy:
- Neurapraxia occurs when nerves are violently stretched.
- Neuroma is a scar-like growth that develops when a nerve heals.
- Ruptured nerves are torn but have not separated from the spinal cord.
An avulsion is a severe form of nerve damage which occurs when the nerve roots lose contact with the spinal cord, often due to excessive traction during delivery.
How can Erb’s Palsy Occur During Delivery?
Erb’s palsy is more likely to occur during difficult or obstructed deliveries, particularly if the baby is large. This injury affects less than two percent of newborn infants. Fortunately, nerves sometimes heal themselves and many cases are resolved during the infant’s first year. However, ten percent of affected children suffer global damage to the brachial plexus. Shoulder dystocia and breech deliveries have the greatest risk. Here are other examples of when Erb’s palsy can occur during childbirth:
- Nerve damage occurs during breech (feet-first or hips-first) deliveries when traction puts too much force on the baby’s arms and shoulders.
- During head-first deliveries and cases of shoulder dystocia, maneuvers may pull the head, neck and shoulder excessively. Occasionally, the baby’s clavicle or upper arm is fractured during these procedures, causing further nerve trauma.
- Instrumental deliveries involving forceps and vacuum extractors can also damage the nerves in the face, shoulder, or cervical spine.
Treatments for birth-related nerve damage include therapy, rehabilitation and surgery to repair or re-attach the nerves. At Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, we believe that victims of birth injuries due to the negligence of doctors and nurses should be fully compensated for their damages. We’ve protected the rights of other New Jersey families in similar situations and we can help you too.
Erb’s Palsy Lawsuits in New Jersey
Cases of Erb’s palsy diagnosed at or near the time of birth are typically the result of medical malpractice, obstetric error or negligence. At Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, we have a proven record of achieving exceptional results for victims of medical malpractice and birth injuries resulting in Erb’s palsy. Read about the $18.5 million jury verdict we won for a New Jersey family whose child suffered a severe birth injury due to a delayed C-section. Our lawyers are committed to helping families recover compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and the lifetime of care that their injured child will require. We will aggressively litigate every lawsuit as though your child was our own. We have also been named to the Best New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys list by the Best Lawyers in America.
If your child suffers from Erb’s palsy due to suspected obstetric or medical malpractice, contact Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman. A qualified lawyer will respond as soon as possible to discuss your case.