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Understanding Erb�s palsy

Birth injuries can be devastating for new parents. One of the more common injuries is called Erb’s palsy. While it is typically not life-threatening, it could hinder you child from leading a normal lifestyle.

There are a bundle of nerves near your neck that connect with the nerves in your arm. This is called the brachial plexus. It gives feeling to the entire arm, from the fingers to the shoulder. When it is damaged, it results in Erb’s palsy, a condition about 1-2 in every 1,000 babies are born with. While most babies recover, it can result in permanent damage. 

Generally, there are four types of damage that can cause this condition. A rupture is a tear of the nerve. It can be remedied by taking a nerve from somewhere else in the body, a “donor” nerve, and transplanting it. Likewise, an avulsion occurs when the nerve is completely detached from the spinal cord. There is no remedy for this injury.

The other two injuries are a bit less severe. A neurapraxia occurs when the nerve is stretched. This typically heals by itself within 3 months. A neuroma is a more severe stretching, causing scarring that bears down on the other nerves. Generally, some healing occurs without treatment.

Often, this kind of injury occurs when the baby is stuck in the birth canal for too long, or when too much pressure is put on it during the birth. But, it could also happen if the doctor is too forceful when trying to remove the baby, perhaps pulling on its head with an extractor tool.

Erb’s palsy, even due to a difficult birth, could be the result of doctor negligence. If your child suffered this type of birth injury in Texas, an experienced attorney may be able to help you claim compensation. 

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Marynell Maloney Law Firm, PLLC
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