What Can Cause Erb’s Palsy In a Newborn?

Erb’s palsy in a newborn, resulting from medical negligence, may rob a child of their future.

NewbornDuring a difficult delivery, a doctor may use medical maneuvers to adjust the baby’s or mother’s position. However, if too much force is applied, damage may be done to nerves in the infant’s arm. This may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.

Causes of Erb’s Palsy

During delivery, a baby’s shoulder may become stuck in the mother’s pelvic bone, which can prevent the baby from exiting the birth canal. This condition is known as shoulder dystocia and occurs in 2 out of every 1,000 births. Obstetricians and nurses are trained to identify and manage the risks that may lead to shoulder dystocia during delivery. Common risk factors include:

  • the large size of the baby
  • diabetes during pregnancy
  • obesity in the mother
  • abnormal pelvic structure of the mother
  • prolonged second stage labor

The attending doctor or nurse may use medical maneuvers to adjust the baby’s or mother’s position in order to deliver the baby. However, if too much force is applied, the nerves in the baby’s shoulder, known as brachial plexus, can be stretched, compressed, or torn. This may lead to temporary or even permanent paralysis of the infant’s arm.

The Effects of Erb’s Palsy

When the injury occurs on the upper arm, the condition is known as brachial plexus injury. If the injury involves rotation of the lower arm and movement of the upper arm, the condition is called Erb’s palsy. Many cases of Erb’s palsy resolve on their own with the help of physical therapy and regular follow-up visits with the doctor; sadly, some infants may require extensive surgery.

Some infants are disabled for their lifetime because the injured arm becomes permanently weak or paralyzed. They may lose the ability to engage in future work or sporting and leisure activities. In some cases, the injured arm remains smaller than the other arm due to a lack of movement.

Erb’s Palsy Resulting From Medical Malpractice

When any risk factors for shoulder dystocia are present, a doctor is expected to foresee certain potential difficulties during childbirth, share the concerns with the mother, and may recommend a cesarean section. Not all risks can be anticipated in advance, however, a doctor may act negligently and fail to identify and respond to problems appropriately. In case the infant’s Erb’s palsy is caused by medical negligence, the victim may claim compensation for medical expenses, permanent or partial disability, wage loss, and pain and suffering.

St. Louis medical malpractice lawyer who specializes in birth injuries can understand the complexities involved in proving such cases.  If you suspect that your child’s Erb’s palsy may be a result of medical negligence, contact Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.


[maxbutton id=”1″]

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zevan Murphy today.

Schedule your free consultation