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Could my doctor be responsible for my child’s Erb’s palsy?

It can be frightening for parents to realize that their child may have Erb’s palsy, a condition involving overstretched or torn nerves in the neck and arm. This condition can make a child's life much more doffocult because a child with this condition may have a hard time moving an arm or may experience pain when moving an arm. He or she may also hold an arm against the body with a bend at the elbow or may have trouble gripping objects. 

If a professional recently diagnosed your child with Erb’s palsy, you may be wondering what caused the condition? Unfortunately, the answer is not always a straightforward one.

What causes Erbs palsy during birth?

Traumas that occur in the first few months of a child’s life can cause Erb's palsy. However, this condition is often caused during birth, especially in instances when a baby is positioned oddly.

Several situations can contribute to Erb’s palsy, such as the:

  • Baby having a high birth weight
  • Mother having a small stature
  • Mother gaining excessive weight during the pregnancy
  • Baby being born breech
  • Second stage of labor lasting too long
  • Baby’s shoulders being pulled excessively during delivery
  • Use of vacuum extraction tools during delivery
  • Use of forceps during delivery

When might medical malpractice be to blame?

Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the primary cause for a child developing Erb’s palsy. However, in many cases, it is possible to discern that medical errors or negligence are to blame.

This may be the case if a medical professional used too much force when pulling on the baby’s arms, did not properly monitor for signs of fetal distress or improperly used tools intended to assist in the birth. Medical malpractice could also have caused Erb’s palsy if medical professionals did not properly prepare for a possible breech birth or failed to perform an emergency C-section when needed.

If you believe that proper medical care could have prevented your child’s condition, it may be appropriate to seek legal justice. You may be awarded compensation to help cover the costs associated with raising a child who has Erb’s palsy, and you may help prevent a similar situation from happening to another child.

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Haberkorn & Associates
2055 Woodside Rd., Suite 155
Redwood City, CA 94061

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