The difference between Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy

On Behalf of | May 26, 2016 | Birth Injuries

Two of the most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. Although both of these injuries are usually the result of a complicated or delayed delivery, cerebral palsy is not always the result of negligence. Understanding the difference between cerebral and Erb’s palsy may help parents whose infant has suffered an injury during delivery better identify a potential malpractice lawsuit.

Cerebral palsy is not simply one disorder but rather a blanket term given to cover many types of disorders affecting an infant’s brain and body. While this disorder can develop as a result of a complicated childbirth, delayed delivery or oxygen deprivation, it can also occur on its own without negligence. This disorder may affect an infant that was born extremely premature or whose mother used dangerous prescription drugs during her pregnancy.

Unlike cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy is almost exclusively the result of a physician or obstetrician’s negligence. This disorder is the result of excessive pressure on an infant’s shoulders, neck or head, which damages the brachial plexus nerves that travel between the spinal cord and the arm. This can occur during difficult deliveries, when delivering a larger than normal baby or if the child has suffered shoulder dystocia during delivery.

Since Erb’s palsy results in an injury to the brachial plexus nerves, infants that have suffered this injury typically have an inability or difficulty using the damaged limb. Fortunately, some instances of Erb’s palsy can be recovered from. However, complete recovery of Erb’s palsy weighs heavily on immediate and thorough treatment and therapy.

Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy may present themselves considerably different from case to case. Parents whose child has been diagnosed with either cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy should speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. With their help, compensation may be awarded to cover the expenses of treatment, therapy and recovery.


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