Brachial palsy is a type of birth injury that occurs in the brachial plexus and occurs twice for every thousand births. The brachial plexus is a concentration of nerves that connect the arms and hands to the spinal cord. Brachial palsy or Erb’s palsy as it’s commonly referred to occurs when too much force is applied to the head and neck region while the baby is being delivered. This most often happens to large babies when medical personnel is overzealous with their use of suction equipment or gripping tools when delivering the baby.
When too much force is applied to the neck and shoulder region while pulling the baby out, the little body can’t handle it and nerves in the brachial plexus rupture thus causing nerve damage. This can cause serious long term damage ranging from loss of sensation in the hands to paralysis of the whole arm. An indicator of brachial palsy is that the baby will normally not move the affected arm and keep it tucked in beside the body.
Any injuries relating to brachial palsy or complications are generally a product of negligence on the part of the physician or medical personnel who delivered the baby. The negligence can come in various forms:
- The doctor’s failure to recognize the need for a C-section by incorrectly judging the babies size.
- The doctor’s failure to regulate force and pressure while using equipment during delivery.
- The doctor’s failure to correctly deliver the baby by misjudging the requirements in the case of shoulder dystocia.
- Brachial palsy has the potential for long-term damage but not in all cases. The nerves, if bruised instead of rupturing, may be able to recover over time through special treatment and therapy.
Birth injuries, such as brachial palsy, can be very difficult for parents to deal with. If a birth injury case is taken to court, this puts additional pressure on the parents who are already dealing with their baby’s injury. It can be a massive help to acquire the services of an experienced attorney to represent your case.