We have made enormous strides in medicine over the past 100 years, but childbirth remains fraught with danger for mothers and their babies. Some injuries may be unavoidable, but others may be the result of carelessness on the part of medical professionals.
One relatively common form of birth injury is known as Erb’s palsy.
Erb’s palsy is a syndrome that can result after a baby’s neck is pulled too much to one side. The excessive pulling damages the brachial plexus, which is a system of nerves that runs the length of the spine, delivering signals from the brain to the limbs.
This type of birth injury comes about most often when something goes wrong during a prolonged or otherwise complicated delivery.
When the brachial plexus is damaged, it can result in paralysis of one arm. This paralysis is temporary in most cases, but can be permanent.
In severe cases, the brachial plexus may be torn. Children who have suffered this type of injury may need surgery to correct the damage.
In the worst cases, nerves may be torn from the spinal cord. Surgery can only do so much to repair this type of damage. This type of injury is permanent.
Is the doctor at fault?
As noted above, childbirth has inherent risks. A diagnosis of Erb’s palsy does not necessarily mean the delivering physician committed medical malpractice.
However, if the doctor’s actions fell short of professional standards, and this lapse resulted in birth injury, the injured and their families may hold the doctor liable for their damages.