What is Erb’s Palsy?

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy is a form of nerve damage sometimes encountered in the Maryland medical system. It is most often caused by birth trauma, especially over-extension of the neck of an infant during the process of delivery. Although it may heal in many cases, especially with intense therapy and parental effort, there is the possibility that such a palsy may have life-long, deleterious effects.

The brachial plexus is a system of nerves that connects the arms and shoulders to the spinal cord. These nerves control all movement and sensation in these limbs. Erb’s Palsy occurs when something damages these nerves, usually extreme traction on the neck. This can occur during birth, and about one to two of every 1,000 babies will experience this birth injury.

The term “palsy” means “weakness,” and damage to the brachial plexus leads to weakness and a lack of muscle development in the affected arm. Erb’s Palsy refers to cases when the upper nerves are primarily affected. This can mean an infant’s shoulder is immobilized while he or she can still freely move the fingers. Cases where both the upper and the lower nerves have been damaged tend to lead to a more severe type of palsy known as “global.”

Birth injuries are some of the most calamitous events that can befall a family. The medical necessities that come with birth injuries can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, and it is not uncommon for there to be permanent debility for the child. If there is a reason to suspect that a medical error or malpractice caused a birth injury, it might be beneficial to consult with a lawyer and attempt to file a lawsuit demanding compensation. No information in this article should be construed as specific legal advice.

Source: Ortho Info, “Erb’s Palsy (Brachial Plexus Birth Palsy)“, November 11, 2014

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