Frequently Asked Erb’s Palsy Legal Questions

Erb’s palsy–like many other birth injuries–is a situation that has probably put physical stress on your baby and and emotional and financial stress on you and your family. Oftentimes, the financial stress inherent in therapies, medications, and potential surgeries puts more of a stress on the marriage and on the family than the pain of therapy and healing by itself. You don’t have to navigate this tough time on your own, and you don’t have to suffer through the financial hardship for something that you didn’t cause.

What Causes Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s palsy –also called brachial plexus palsy or shoulder dystocia- is an injury caused from damaging, fraying, separating, moving, or completely severing the brachial plexus nerves connecting the arm and the shoulder. The nerves are damaged, severed, or moved, most often when someone, such as physician or a nurse, yanks, pulls, or tugs unnecessarily on a baby’s arm, or when a doctor misdiagnoses or doesn’t appropriately estimate the risks and potential complications of a delivery.

The shoulder can have unnecessary and abnormal stress when the shoulder gets caught on the mother’s pubic bone, when the baby is born feet first or face first, or when the baby is proportionately too big for the mother’s birth canal.

Could Erb’s Palsy Have Been Prevented?

While a doctor can’t control the position that the baby is in, the doctor can see what position the baby is in and decide to schedule a c-section if the position is too risky. While the doctor didn’t put the mother’s pubic bone in a position for the baby’s shoulder to snag onto, the doctor can reposition the mother so that birthing can allow the baby to move around the pubic bone.

In addition, the doctor can determine if the baby is proportionately too big and decide to schedule a C-section. While the doctor can’t be responsible for the baby being stuck during delivery, it is the physician’s responsibility to deliver the baby as quickly and as safely as possible. Therefore, Erb’s palsy can normally be prevented through a number of preventative measures, such as planning beforehand if an infant is too large for a normal delivery.

How Can a Settlement Help with Erb’s Palsy?

Sometimes therapy for Erb’s palsy is expedited so that the child can continue through his or her developmental stages without having long term effects. To that end, therapy can sometimes feel rushed, especially when the family can’t afford the therapy at this current date.

Some parents think “I’m still paying for the cost of having the baby, and now I have to pay for the cost of giving the baby therapy, too.” That is how the settlement from a birth injury can help. You can move through your child’s recovery making the environment and relaxing and soothing as possible, and thereafter move on to happy, healthy, normal lives.