What is Erb’s palsy?

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2015 | Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can be a terrifying prospect for any expecting mother. While birth injuries are not common, one of the more common birth injuries that does occur is called Erb’s palsy. Erb’s Palsy is a kind brachial plexus palsy. When this happens, the newborn will have very limited or no use of one of their arms. It occurs because of a difficult delivery. If the baby is too big, or too much force is exerted on it, the nerves can become damaged and cause the complication.

In this specific injury, the nerve damage only affects the shoulder, making it difficult to lift the arm. If there is also a lack of feeling or movement in the fingers, the condition may be more severe than Erb’s palsy. There are four general types of nerve damage that can cause this birth injury.

A neurapraxia is when the nerve is stretched, but it does not tear. This is the most common cause brachial plexus palsy, and will generally heal by itself in about three months. The second kind is also a stretching of the nerves called neuroma. The difference is that neuroma leads to scarring, which can press upon the other healthy nerves. Usually some healing happens, but total recovery is unlikely.

If the nerve is stretched to the point of tearing, it is called a rupture. These will not heal by itself, but may be fixed with a “donor” nerve. Finally, an avulsion happens when the nerve is disconnected from the spinal cord. Even with treatment, avulsed nerves cannot be reattached.

If your child was born with Erb’s palsy in South Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation. An attorney may be able to analyze the situation and recommend a plan of action.


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