Nerves in the fingers, hands, and arms form a system or network of nerves known as the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus moves behind the clavicle and spreads to the arm. The nerves that go to the shoulder are located higher in the neck than those in the fingers or hands. Those that give you sensation in your fingers and hands are located lower in the neck and armpit. Erb's palsy is a type of brachial plexus palsy or weakness that can arise as a result of medical malpractice in Syracuse, Rochester, or other areas. If your child suffers from Erb's palsy due to medical malpractice, the Syracuse birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help you recover damages.Erb's Palsy and Related Complications
Most brachial plexus palsies or weaknesses affect the upper nerves and are considered Erb's palsy. Erb's palsy can be a result of a difficult delivery that can affect a child's neck and shoulders. Most infants who suffer from brachial plexus birth palsy can recover movement and sensation through the use of physical therapy. In some cases, an infant cannot move their shoulder but can move their fingers. When both the upper and lower nerves have been stretched, the condition is more serious than Erb's palsy and is determined to be total brachial plexus birth palsy.
Often, a pediatrician diagnoses a brachial plexus palsy injury, such as Erb's palsy. The diagnosis is made by looking at the arm, conducting tests such as a nerve conduction study or electromyogram, and possibly performing imaging such as an x-ray or ultrasound. Children may recover in about two years. However, daily physical therapy may be needed. Parents need to take an active role in helping their child do range of motion exercises that improve the baby's arm. These exercises may start at three weeks old.
However, in some cases, there is no improvement over a period of months, and microsurgery using specialized instruments, nerve graft, or nerve transfer is necessary. These treatments unfortunately can become quite expensive and challenging for parents to cover. Nerve surgery may not restore full function or help older babies. After surgery, it will be necessary for parents to help their child with more rehabilitation exercises. Sometimes the affected arm is smaller than the other arm.
To establish a medical malpractice claim on behalf of your child based on Erb's palsy, you will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor or other health care provider's breach of the professional standard of care, causation, and actual damages. The professional standard of care that should be followed depends on the particular patients (the mother and child) and the geographical location. In most cases, it is necessary to retain a credible expert to testify on what the applicable professional standard of care is, whether it was breached, and whether the breach is what caused the Erb's palsy.
Your attorney will need to consult with an expert before filing a birth injury complaint against a negligent doctor. In New York, we need to file a certificate declaring that we reviewed the case and consulted with at least one health care expert licensed to practice, that we reasonably believe that the expert is knowledgeable in Erb's palsy and any other relevant medical issues, and that based on this consultation, there is a reasonable basis for the lawsuit. If it is not possible to get the consultation in time to comply with the statute of limitations, we can file the certificate within 90 days of serving the complaint or make a different type of declaration that three good-faith attempts were made to consult with an expert. In most cases, it is a better idea to consult with an expert and make sure that there is a sound basis to file a complaint. Accordingly, you should consult an attorney once you realize that your child has Erb's palsy that may have been caused by medical negligence.Retain an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney in Syracuse or Surrounding Communities
Many people would prefer not to file a medical malpractice claim, but in some cases, they have no choice if their child is seriously injured by medical negligence. Often, a lawsuit is the only way to afford physical therapy and other services needed to care for a child with a medical condition like Erb's palsy. If your child suffers from Erb's palsy, our law firm may be able to help you recover damages from responsible parties. We also represent injured children and families in Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn, Elmira, Norwich, Cortland, Delhi, Herkimer, Watertown, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Utica, Canandaigua, Oswego, Cooperstown, Ithaca, Lyons, and all of Upstate New York. Call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.