What Is Erb’s Palsy and How Will It Affect Your Child?

baby-hand-300x174Erb’s palsy is a condition linked to nerve injury during childbirth. When the upper nerves of the neck are injured during birth, it gives rise to this terrible condition.

Erb’s palsy is typically caused when the baby’s head and neck are stretched and pulled to the side, during a delivery. When the nerves are stretched, the resulting injuries can cause weakness in the nerves which are responsible for allowing the baby to move arms, and shoulder muscles. An injury to these nerves will reduce feeling or movement in the shoulders, arms and hands. A child who has Erb’s palsy may be unable to move the shoulders, reach his arm up above his head, and perform other activities that should be easy as he grows older.

The doctor or pediatrician will conduct tests in order to determine whether your child has suffered Erb’s palsy. These tests could include x-rays, and even nerve tests. The pediatrician will check the baby’s response to the Moro reflex test, which is an involuntary response to any kind of stimulation. If all of these studies and tests determine that an injury has taken place, the doctor will monitor your child over a period of the next few months or even years, to determine if the nerves that have been injured have begun to recover. Remember, that most children who have suffered Erb’s palsy will recover on their own, although the recovery may take as long as two years.

If the doctor finds that there has been no change in the restricted movement in the arm, even months after the birth, he may suggest that the baby undergo surgery, which will often involve a nerve transfer or nerve graft. Even after surgery, the doctor will recommend rehabilitation and therapy in order to improve strength in the shoulder muscles, and increase range of range of motion.

Certain types of births may see a higher risk of an Erb’s palsy birth injury than others. For instance, a breech delivery, a large sized newborn, or complications in delivering the baby after the head has come out may increase the risk of the baby suffering from Erb’s palsy. If your baby is showing signs of weakness or lower range of movement in one arm, has a limp arm that is weak or flops over when the baby turns over, or suffers from partial or complete paralysis of the arm, it’s important to get him getting looked at by a pediatrician immediately.

Parents of children, who have suffered birth injuries as a result of medical negligence, may be eligible to file a birth injury lawsuit in order to recover compensation that can adequately cover their financial costs.  The Indiana medical malpractice lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent parents of children who have suffered childbirth injuries as a result of medical negligence across Indiana.