New Jersey Erb’s Palsy Attorneys
Birth Injury Lawyers Providing Answers and Advocacy for Your Erb’s Palsy Case in NJ
Erb’s palsy is a medical condition that can severely limit the victim’s use of an arm. Erb’s palsy is caused by an injury to the brachial plexus, a complex network of nerves at the base of the neck that regulates arm movements. Many of these injuries occur as a result of a doctor’s mishandling of shoulder dystocia during delivery. In fact, this is a problem that happens way too often in U.S. hospitals: according to statistics compiled by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), two out of every 1,000 babies are afflicted with Erb’s palsy due to medical negligence. The sad truth is that many Erb’s palsy cases are entirely preventable.
At Fronzuto Law Group, we have extensive experience with Erb’s palsy claims and other conditions involving birth injuries. Our highly skilled New Jersey Erb’s Palsy lawyers understand how these injuries occur, and we understand the doctors’ errors that lead to them. When representing you and your child, we present the strongest possible argument in an effort to prove malpractice in support of your claim for damages. We work closely with a network of skilled medical experts and life-planning specialists to understand the impact the condition will have and the type of care that will be required over the short and long term. We pursue the maximum level of compensation available for your case and do everything in our power to ensure that all of your current and future needs are fully accommodated.
You may also contact us online for a free case evaluation.
What Causes Erb’s Palsy in Children?
Erb’s palsy is one of the most common birth injuries caused by negligence during labor and delivery. When the doctor does not exercise sound judgment or is otherwise negligent when the shoulder of the fetus becomes lodged against the mother’s pelvic bone, the resulting trauma may manifest as Erb’s palsy. That’s why it is extremely important for the medical provider to recognize shoulder dystocia as a potential birth complication as early as possible and take steps to manage the issue. For instance, when doctors expect the baby to be too large for a natural delivery through a narrow birth canal, they may need to take steps to prepare for a C-section delivery or an alternative method of delivery in order to avoid doing severe damage to the baby.
Although Erb’s palsy can be caused by any forceful trauma to the shoulder, such as impact sustained in a car accident, slip and fall accident, or violent assault, the injury is sustained most frequently during childbirth. Many instances of Erb’s palsy in babies are caused by a doctor’s medical mistake. Some of the leading causes of Erb’s palsy include:
- Pulling the infant too forcefully from the birth canal. When a baby’s body becomes stuck in the uterus during an obstructed childbirth, the doctor may overcompensate by pulling too hard on the baby’s arms or shoulders.
- Improper use of forceps. When the doctor mishandles forceps or other medical instruments during delivery, the damage done may be irreparable.
- Mishandling the infant during childbirth, for example, pulling on the baby’s feet during a breech delivery or twisting the head when the baby is lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone. Doctors need to be aware of all options during delivery, including the Wood’s Corkscrew maneuver to directly rotate the baby’s shoulders, the McRoberts maneuver to place the mother’s thighs on her abdomen and flex her legs, making a surgical incision to protect against soft-tissue trauma to the mother and the child, and a cesarean delivery.
- Misdiagnosis before childbirth, such as taking inaccurate measurements of the fetus prior to birth. Physicians and nurses need to be able to identify the warning signs of Erb’s palsy so that they can properly prepare the mother and the medical team for labor and delivery, as well as advising the mother of the availability of a C-section delivery option.
- Failing to identify risk factors for Erb’s palsy, such as the mother’s history of gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, an undersized mother, or excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
What Are the Consequences of Erb’s Palsy?
Erb’s palsy has significant consequences, as it can leave the baby with permanent nerve damage and make it difficult for the child to use their arm in the future. The injury necessarily involves some form of damage to the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder, including torn nerves, severed nerves, or repositioned nerves. The brachial plexus nerve fibers connect the shoulder to the spine, so damage to the nerves has the potential to be catastrophic. In some cases, a brachial plexus injury might only last for a few months before healing through sufficient treatment. In the worst cases, the effects of the injury can last for the rest of the victim’s life and involve extreme pain, loss of sensation in the arm, weakened muscles, partial paralysis, or even complete paralysis of the arm. Not only will the child have to suffer with the disability, but the child’s family could face years of costly medical expenses for surgical procedures, treatment, and therapy.
Some of the more specific consequences of a child sustaining Erb’s palsy due to medical malpractice include the following:
- Medical bills: An injury to a child’s brachial plexus can necessitate multiple surgeries to repair significant nerve damage, including tendon transfer surgery that is not always effective.
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation: A child suffering from Erb’s palsy may require years of physical therapy in order to adjust to their condition and regain functional use of their hands and arms.
- Permanent disability: Erb’s palsy can result in atrophy of the shoulder muscles and, in some cases, complete loss of function of the affected arm. The chances of permanent disability are made greater when doctors fail to properly diagnose and treat the condition in a timely manner.
- Pain and suffering: Individuals with Erb’s palsy may suffer from arthritis, as well as other painful conditions.
• Cosmetic deformities: When a person’s arm is affected by Erb’s palsy, the arm might be noticeably shorter and smaller than the unaffected arm.
- Decreased quality of life: Depending on the extent of the nerve damage and the physical limitations caused by Erb’s palsy, the victim may not be able to perform certain tasks or participate in the full range of activities that they would otherwise be able to.
- Emotional distress: Both the child and the parent may suffer severe emotional distress as a result of Erb’s palsy, which can hinder the child’s self-esteem during their formative years.
- Lost future wages: If the victim’s mobility is severely limited due to permanent disability caused by Erb’s palsy, they may struggle to maintain certain types of employment in the future.
Need a Lawyer for Erb’s Palsy Lawsuit in NJ
If you are seeking compensation or simply need more information about a potential Erb’s Palsy claim in New Jersey, our firm can help. When you turn to us here at Fronzuto Law Group, you will be turning to a team of dedicated medical malpractice attorneys who regularly address the most legally sophisticated and personally difficult matters on behalf of clients throughout NJ. We are prepared to investigate the causes of your child’s Erb’s palsy and help you tackle the difficult legal issues that often arise in these kinds of birth injury cases. Call 973-435-4551 today for a free consultation about your Erb’s palsy claim.