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What is exactly is Erb's palsy? Is it a birth injury?


Two very common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy. While many readers in Maryland may have heard of cerebral palsy, they may not have heard of another condition known as Erb's palsy.


In general, Erb's palsy is due to a complication that occurs during the birthing process. Out of every thousand births, two infants will be affected by Erb's palsy. The injury is caused when the bundle of nerves that runs between the child's arm and spinal cord, known as the brachial plexus, is damaged. This can happen if the doctor misuses the forceps or vacuum extractor when delivering a large baby or fails to order a cesarean section when needed. This may also happen when a doctor puts undue pressure on the baby's neck, head or shoulder, particularly when there are complications in delivering the baby's shoulder area.

Symptoms of Erb's palsy can include paralysis or loss of motion in the affected arm, hands and fingers, and a loss of feeling in the fingers and hands. The child may simply keep his or her arm at their side and will seem to not be able to move it. If the nerves were not torn, it is possible to regain movement. However, Erb's palsy can result in permanent damage if the nerves were torn.

Erb's palsy is considered a birth injury that in many cases could have been prevented. Treatment for Erb's palsy can include therapy, medications or even surgery, not to mention the ongoing care one needs when they suffer from a permanent disability. All of these treatments are undoubtedly expensive. No one should be forced to bear the burden of such medical expenses due to the negligence of a doctor or other hospital staff. That is why looking into the possibility of pursuing damages through a medical malpractice suit may be something to consider.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy," Accessed Aug. 25, 2014

Source: FindLaw.com, "Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy and Erbs Palsy," Accessed Aug. 25, 2014

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